Lentils Benefits and Nutrition


Lentils (Lens ensculenta) are edible pulses that are known for their ‘lens’ shaped seeds. 

Along with beans and peas, lentils are a part of the legume family as they grow within pods.

Lentils are high in proteins, minerals and dietary fibers and are low in fat, making them the best substitute for meat.


Characteristics:
The lentils are drought-tolerant and are grown all over the world, though the main producers are Canada, India, Turkey, Australia and the US.
The lentils are classified based on their size and their color. Their color ranges from yellow to red-orange, green, brown or black.
They are sold in many ways, either whole or are split, with or without skins etc.


Nutrients:

Nutritional value per 100 g

Nutrients Amount
Water 62.95 g
Energy 143 kcal 
Energy 600 kJ
Protein 9.01 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.65 g
Ash 1.17 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 26.22 g
Fiber, total dietary 9 g
Sugars, total 0.34 g
Starch 15.15 g
Minerals
Calcium, Ca 46 mg
Iron, Fe 2.09 mg
Magnesium, Mg 50 mg
Phosphorus, P 147 mg
Potassium, K 436 mg
Sodium, Na 1 mg
Zinc, Zn 0.98 mg
Copper, Cu 0.219 mg
Manganese, Mn 0.453 mg
Selenium, Se 6.2 µg
Fluoride, F 2.2 µg
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 0.8 mg
Thiamin 0.193 mg
Riboflavin 0.062 mg
Niacin 0.318 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.21 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.229 mg
Folate, total 172 µg
Choline, total 35.3 mg
Betaine 0.1 mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.94 mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 3.5 µg
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.136 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.133 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.235 g
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28

Useful in:

High Cholesterol | Digestion | Gastrointestinal diseases | Irritable Bowel Syndrome | Cardiovascular Diseases | Diabetes | Heart Diseases | Nutrition | 




Lentils are widely used in a variety of dishes like soups, or curries, along with rice, sweets, salads or stews.
An Egyptian national dish called ‘kushari’ is made from lentils

Lentils can be paired best with cabbage, sausages, ham, pork, parsley, ginger, garlic, lemon, vinegar, tomatoes, olive oil, Feta cheese, bacon, rice, onions, radishes, peppers, scallions, pasta, noodles, mint, and spinach.

An individual suffering from kidney problems or gout should avoid the intake of lentils, due to large amounts of the compound called ‘purines’. Purines break down to form uric acid which results in kidney stones or gout. 

Heart:

Lentils are rich in dietary fibers, folate and minerals like iron and magnesium. All these factors contribute in keeping you healthy. Folate reduces the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid made during the methylation cycle. High amounts of homocysteine can damage the walls of your artery and cause a number of heart diseases.

Moreover, magnesium acts as efficient calcium blocker and improves the blood flow in the body.

Diabetes:

The soluble dietary fiber present in lentils is a source of slow releasing energy and also helps to maintain the blood sugar levels stable for a long time. Hence eating lentils is very beneficial, especially if you are suffering from hypoglycaemia, diabetes and insulin resistance.

Pregnancy: 

Pregnant and lactating women need higher levels of iron in their food. Lentils are rich in iron and unlike red meat do not contain fats and high calories. Iron helps to maintain the haemoglobin levels in your blood, transports oxygen to your lungs and helps in the metabolism along with boosting your energy levels.