Are Lentils Healthy?

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Adenike Eketunde
Adenike Eketundehttps://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Adenike_Eketunde
I am a health enthusiast with a degree in medicine and public health. I have over 5 years of experience working in the clinical and non-clinical setting. I have experience in medical writing and review with published articles on PubMed.

As Legume family members, lentils have been part of the Indian diet for a long time. But are lentils healthy? It’s a typical query for weight loss enthusiasts. If you learn how essential and effective lentils are, you’ll find these grains extremely beneficial to your health. 

Lentils are healthy enough to provide you with meat-quality protein. They counteract cancers and help lower blood pressure to prevent heart diseases. The fiber of lentils will help you strengthen your gut immunity and promote regular bowel movements. It also comes in handy in childbearing age. 

Plants-based diets are trendy in Indian cuisine. You will find various types of lentils like brown lentils, green lentils, french lentils, red lentils, black lentils, black beluga lentils, and others. Mix split red lentils with brown rice to get a better-balanced diet. 

What Are Lentils?

Lentils are a food designated under the vegetable category. Based on different regions, they may be referred to as pulses. 

The plant that produces lentils is categorized under a type called a legume. Legumes are also composed of other foods like chickpeas, beans, fresh peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas. 

However, lentils are well known for their relatively high protein content compared to beans. You might find some legumes containing high fat like soybeans, but lentils are far more preferable considering the amount of fat.

In simple words, lentils are miniature in size, have a legume origin, and contain a considerably high nutrition dose. They serve you with fiber, protein, and minerals while delivering a crunchy texture to your taste palette. 

You may consider lentils as one of the staple foods in your pantry. There are different types of lentils of various sizes, uses, textures, and tastes!

Are Lentils Carbs Or Protein?

To be specific, lentils are neither carbs nor solely protein. You can’t consider lentils a low-carb diet or a simple carbohydrate diet.

Instead, as previously mentioned, lentils are legumes that contain both carbs and protein. They are also blessed with fiber, vitamin B, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, etc. 

If you are a vegan, lentils appear as a great source of protein for you. Hence, the carbs in lentils are not harmful to your health. Too many carbs aren’t preferable as they aren’t healthy. 

Lentils have a fantastic combination of healthy nutrients. While it’s preferable not to keep lentils as a carb-only or protein-only diet for health enthusiasts, you can consider it a part of a balanced nutrition regime. 

You can consult your dietician for more information about it. 

Lentils’ Contribution To Soil

You will be surprised to know that lentils and legumes play an essential role in the fields where they are grown. They deal with nitrogen which is undoubtedly a necessary ingredient for plants. 

This process is truly simple: the bacteria in the soil where you cultivate these plants grow without consuming any nitrogen from the earth. Not only that, they consume the required nitrogen from the air. On the other hand, they return the extra nitrogen to the fields.

This is beneficial for both the farmers and the environment. If you plant lentils or legumes in a specific field for a particular time, like a year or two, the field will require less fertilizer when you sow a corn-type crop following the legumes. 

Health Benefits Of Lentils

If you tend to stick to plant-based diets, the result will be incredible. This habit of yours will reduce the risk of different habit-related health issues. 

In 2019, it was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that the practice of eating plant foods subsequently lessens the chances of dying from cardiovascular illness. 

Therefore, lentils serve us with necessary minerals, vitamins, fiber, protein, etc., in terms of our diet. If you replace meat with lentils entirely or mainly in your diet, this effort of yours will undoubtedly decrease the risk of any heart disease. 

Lentils are also gluten-free. Moreover, they usually have low GI value (Glycemic Index), including low starch content. These make lentils preferable for a diabetic food chart.

Are Lentils High In Protein?

Simply the answer is yes. You will find lentils very handy in terms of serving you sufficient protein as well as other similar nutrients.

Lentils are a great source of protein. You will be surprised to know that if you combine lentils with a whole grain, the meal will provide you with a similar protein quality to the meat. 

Consuming half a cup of lentils, you can quickly meet your protein requirement for a day. Thus you may find it as a healthy substitute for meat. 

During World War II, lentils became popular in America for their protein quality and appeared as a cheap alternative to meat. Thanks to such wondrous benefits, lentil soups, and other delicacies have become a part of American cuisine.

Are Lentils High In Calories?

Though lentils are cheap, tasty, and a convenient source of protein, it comes helpful in terms of weight loss as it contains low calories. On the other hand, their rich fiber content keeps you full for quite a while. 

One hundred grams of lentils contain roughly 116 calories only. So, you can see how it can be a decent addition to the diet chart of any health enthusiast bodybuilder. You won’t gain much weight while also getting sufficient protein.

Eventually, the answer to this query appears negative and which is healthy in terms of food consumption. But if you are taking less food, including lentils, into your diet might make you feel weak as you will lack in meeting the required calories per day.

Lentil Benefits And Disadvantages

Since nothing is constant on this mother earth, we can’t think of any stuff either solely good or solely bad! In the same way, canned lentils have both bright and dark sides. 

Benefits

You will find some notable benefits of lentils:

  • Lentils carry essential amino acids for your body, and with that, you can achieve decent muscle-building.
  • The grains are also helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels and bowel movements that decrease constipation. 
  • You will get a supply of antioxidants that will help you decrease the probability of triggering atherosclerosis.
  • As lentils contain folic acid, consuming them eventually helps pregnant women to lessen their congenital disabilities.
  • In recent studies, it was observed that lentils might also play a role in controlling cancer cell growths. 
  • Nutritionists recommend lentils for weight management.
  • Paris-based research has argued that lentils’ vitamins and minerals help ensure optimum brain functions.

Disadvantages

There are a few sensitive disadvantages are also available to eating lentils:

  • Lentils cook quickly with oxalate compounds and are responsible for kidney stones.
  • The aftermath of lentils digestion (fermentation) may form gas from time to time due to overeating.
  • Eating raw lentils institutes a threat of containing lectins and phytic acid that might show uncomfortable reactions.  
  • Too much consumption of lentils might cause hyperkalemia among people with poor kidneys.

Benefits Of Lentils For Skin

The existing nutrients in red lentils do a fantastic job taking care of your skin. 

These compounds are regarded as one of the best exfoliators from nature. You may use this type of lentils to get rid of dead cells from your skin. 

Hence, red lentils will keep your skin smooth and even dirt free. If you face issues in fighting blackheads or even acne, red lentils become a savior for you. 

Are Lentils Good For Your Gut?

Simply the answer is yes unless you take lentils in a considerable amount. 

However, lentils contain a rich amount of dietary fiber. This very fiber comes in both insoluble and soluble types. It also prevents constipation. In a greater sense, it helps you prevent colon cancer. 

Hence, lentils are a significant source of prebiotic fiber. The gut bacteria prefer this type of fiber, and eventually, lentil consumption improves your health. 

Lentil Soup Benefits

Lentil soup serves you with the following offerings and is undoubtedly a flavourful dish.

  • High in protein.
  • Full of fiber.
  • Sufficient in polyphenols.
  • Decent source of iron.
  • Rich in magnesium.
  • Good for your bones.
  • Excellent source of folic acid.
  • Easy to digest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are peas a lentil?

Peas and lentils are legume family members, but they are not the same. So, peas are not lentils. They are different species of the same plant family.

Which color lentils are the healthiest?

Among different edible seeds like green, red, brown lentils, etc., black lentils are the healthiest ones. These grains contain the optimum amount of nutrients, proteins, and carbs required for a healthy balanced diet.

Are lentils healthier than chickpeas?

In terms of fiber, split lentils beat chickpeas. But if you consider the calories, chickpeas eaten raw will outstand lentils. 

Final Words

While people around the globe are looking for healthy meat alternatives, this is very usual for you to consider – are lentils healthy? Undoubtedly the answer is yes! Consumption of lentils plays a considerable role even in fighting cancer. 

By maintaining low cost and easy availability, lentils promote healthy weight loss and induce a lower risk of heart diseases. Cooked lentils, such as lentil soup, contain beneficial nutrients, such as protein and carbs. You can mix undercooked lentils with whole grains to get a more balanced diet. Studies even show that lentils outplay most other legumes, among other plant-based proteins. 

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