Lentils, being legumes and a type of vegetable, are associated with a decreased risk of heart diseases, making them a highly nutritious food choice. They offer an abundance of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, while being low in fat and devoid of cholesterol.
Fiber: A serving of lentils provides nearly half of your daily fiber requirement, offering numerous benefits to your digestive system and potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as stated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Furthermore, the filling nature of fiber can assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Research suggests that individuals who consume higher amounts of fiber tend to weigh less than those who consume insufficient amounts.
Protein: Lentils contain 20-to-25 percent protein, which is twice the protein content found in wheat and three times that of rice, according to the Ethiopian Dry Pea & Lentil Council. They also supply essential amino acids like lysine. Protein is a vital nutrient as it provides energy and supports growth and development in all cells of the body. A recommended daily intake suggests that 10-to-35 percent of your calorie consumption should come from protein. Incorporating lentils into your diet allows you to choose between considering them as a protein source or a vegetable, presenting a healthy alternative to meats containing cholesterol, such as beef.
Vitamins and Minerals: Lentils are a rich source of iron and folate. Folate, a B vitamin, is particularly crucial during pregnancy as deficiencies can increase the risk of birth defects. Iron is a mineral that helps prevent anemia. Pairing lentils with vitamin C sources like strawberries, tomatoes, or orange juice enhances the absorption of iron. Additionally, lentils provide potassium and magnesium, further contributing to a well-rounded nutrient profile.