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TOP 5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEA
Packed with fiber and a great source of plant protein, lentils make a real addition to meals – but are they good for you? Nutritionists have shown their top health benefits.
What is lentils?
Lentils (lens culinaris) are edible seeds belonging to the legume family and come in a variety of colors including red, green, brown, yellow and black. Like other members of the legume family, they grow in the pod.
Fast processing and great value for money A bowl of rice, lentils are a rich source of protein, fiber and lots of minerals.
Explore the full health benefits of this pea guide and also check out some delicious lentil recipes, from beets, lentils, chrysanthemums and hazelnut salad to lentils Sweet and sour with grilled eggplant.
Nutritional benefits of lentils:
One 100g serving of green / brown (boiled) lentils provides:
• 105 kcal / 446KJ
• 8.8g of protein
• 0.7g of fat
• 16.9g of carbohydrate
• 5.1g of fiber
• 3.5mg of iron
• 40mcg of selenium
• 30mcg folate
What are the top 5 health benefits of lentils?
1. Protect against chronic diseases
Studies show that regular consumption of lentils reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. This is because they contain many plant protection compounds called phenols – lentils are one of the top-ranked beans for phenol content. It’s no surprise that lentils have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular protective effects.
2. Supporting the digestive system
Lentils are particularly rich in prebiotic fiber that promotes digestive function and energizes the beneficial gut bacteria that are important to our health. Diets high in fiber are linked to a number of health benefits including a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
3. Good for the heart
Lentils are rich in fiber, folate and potassium, making them a great choice for the heart, helping to control blood pressure and cholesterol. They are also a good source of iron and vitamin B1 that help maintain a steady heartbeat.
4. Help control blood sugar
Legumes and lentils are no exception, having a low glycemic index, slowing the rate at which the energy they release into the bloodstream. This helps to improve blood sugar management. The high fiber content also makes them very full, helping to control appetite.
5. A source of plant protein
Lentils are a rich source of protein, making them an excellent substitute for meat or fish. About a third of the calories from lentils come from protein, making lentils the third highest protein content, by weight, of any bean or nut. Like other legumes, lentils have a few essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. This can be easily resolved by combining lentils with grains like rice or wheat.
Are lentils safe for everyone?
For most people, lentils are a healthy food to include in a well-balanced diet. However, it’s worth noting that like other legumes, lentils contain natural compounds commonly referred to as ‘anti-nutrients’. These include phytic acid that binds with nutrients like iron and zinc, making it harder for us to absorb minerals. The phytic acid content of lentils is actually lower than that of corn, wheat and soybeans. Furthermore, these antinutrients can be reduced by soaking and cooking.
Allergy to lentils has been reported in many parts of Europe and Asia, especially in Vietnam, where it is thought to be more common than peanut allergy. This is believed to be related to the fact that lentils are often used as snack food in Vietnam. If you are allergic to other legumes such as chickpeas and peas, you may be susceptible to a lentil allergy.
If you are concerned, please consult your physician or registered dietitian for guidance.
Discover our best lentil recipes …
Lentil salad with sesame butter sauce
Italian bok choy with tomato lentils
Spinach, sweet potatoes and lentils
Lentil & hazelnut soup seasoned
All of the above health content is provided for general information only and should not be considered a substitute for the medical advice of your own physician or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See the instructions on our website newsletter for more information.