Lentils may be individually small, but they pack one heck of a nutritious punch. They’re full of essential minerals and nutrients like potassium, iron, folate, zinc, and calcium – all of which are important for your body’s well being. And they provide one of the richest sources of dietary fiber on earth. If you haven’t already made lentils a part of your weekly diet plan, here are twelve reasons why you should seriously consider doing so.
The Top 12 Health Benefits of Lentils
1. High in dietary fiber. Here’s a fun lentils nutrition fact: just one cup provides you with 63% of your recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber — both of which are important for your overall health.
2. Lowers cholesterol. The soluble fiber (see above) in lentils is linked to reduced cholesterol levels and can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
3. Boosts metabolism. Lentils are abundant in vitamin B3 — a vitamin that is crucial to the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in the body. Additionally, it also helps maintain proper circulation and healthy skin.
4. Promotes healthy digestion. The insoluble fiber found in lentils decreases your risk of constipation, as well as reduce your body’s exposure to toxic wastes.
5. Increases energy. One cup of lentils contains 37% of your recommend daily allowance of iron, which plays a major role in helping your muscles store and use oxygen. The more oxygen you are able to use, the more energy you have.
6. Great source of protein. Lentils have long since been a preferred source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. This is attributed to their high levels of protein per serving size — 18g per one cup.
7. Prevents heart disease. Not only are lentils low in fat (important for a healthy heart), but also high in magnesium. Magnesium helps lower blood pressure and prevents calcium build up in your vessels and arteries.
8. Prevents birth defects. Lentils are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, which include folic acid. Folic acid has been linked to preventing neural tube defects in expecting mothers.
9. Delivers more oxygen. The same iron that allows your muscles to store and use more oxygen also helps your blood carry and deliver more oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.
10. Lowers blood sugar levels. The body slowly digests the soluble fiber found in lentils. This process helps maintain proper blood sugar levels. In other words, if you’re diabetic, lentils should be one of your staple foods.
11. Helps fight cancer. Lentils are one of the few foods that contain lectins — a unique type of plant protein. Studies have shown that lectin has the ability to help control and hinder cancer growth inside the body.
12. Healthy weight loss. Not only do lentils contain plenty of healthy nutrients and minerals, they’re also low in calories. One whole cup of cooked lentils amounts to only 230 total calories. The icing on the cake? The fiber and carbs help keep you full for longer.