Posted on Aug 27, 2019, 8 p.m.
Lentils are an edible seed in the legume family that has been harvested for thousands of years. They are loaded with fibre, folate, protein, and carry benefits such as helping to lower cholesterol, improve digestion, enhancing hair growth, and promoting weight loss.
Lentils kind of resemble pebble like dried seeds, they are similar to beans, chickpeas, and peas. These nutrient packed legume seeds came in many varieties such as green, red, puy, and black with each type varying in texture and flavor.
Just 1 cup of lentils contains around 230 calories, 18 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, 358 mcg of folate, and 6.6 mg of iron. They are also a source of good complex carbohydrates which will help to body to digest them more slowly, and keep you feeling full and energized while promoting balanced blood sugar, and may benefit digestion.
Lentils are loaded with fiber meaning they are great for the gut, insufficient dietary fiber can shift healthy gut flora adversely which will increase inflammation, insulin resistance, weight gain, and fat deposition. Maintaining good gut bacteria can affect everything from mood to appetite and bowel movements.
Soluble fiber found in lentils is also beneficial to gut health and can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels by binding with bile salts during digestion in the gut and eventually exiting with them. To replace the bile salts the body must create more by pulling cholesterol from the bloodstream for production.
Lentils are a good source of B vitamins, especially folic acid which is important during pregnancy as consuming enough folic acid before and during pregnancy can help to prevent neural tube disorders and other major birth defects.
Lentils are rich sources of folate and iron which are essential to red blood cell production and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Inadequate iron levels can lead to iron deficiency, anemia, fatigue, and premature delivery if pregnant. If you are a woman who experiences heavy monthly cycles you can lose a significant amount of iron during this time, so it is important to focus on getting enough iron through diet.
Lentils help to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails thanks to their nutrient composition, in this area the iron, protein, and B vitamins some into play. Lentils also contain the amino acid L-lysine which has been shown to help prevent excessive hair shedding among women who are prone to the condition.
Lentils can help to promote many benefits, but this is also affected by the overall composition of your total diet. Eating unhealthy foods will most likely forfeit benefits from any food, try to focus on consuming a combination of nutrient rich and minimally processed whole foods to enjoy the most benefits.
Lentils make a great addition to most people’s diets, however some people may be affected by the lectins they contain which may promote inflammation, damage the gut, and contribute to IBS and brain fog. However, these side effects do not occur in everyone, so assess how you feel after eating them and if you feel sick it may best best to avoid them.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.