Seeds and Cereals

Lentil’s Health Benefits

The lentil is a legume belonging to the family Fabaceae, the species Lens ensculenta and is part of the human diet since prehistoric times, when its seeds were found in archaeological sites in the Middle East. There are reports that they were already consumed in Antiquity in Egypt, in Greece, in Rome.

Originally from Central Asia, the lentil was brought to Brazil by European immigrants. Despite being grown mainly in the south of the country, this planting is done on a small scale and most of the lentils consumed in Brazil are imported from Canada and Argentina.

Lentils are small, circular and flat and grow inside the pods. Well known for the superstition of the turn of the year, which symbolizes luck and wealth, has excellent nutritional properties and is worth being included in meals throughout the year.

Easy to prepare, with few calories and low cost, lentils can be used to prepare soups, stuffed dishes, stews and salads. When taken with other cereals and vegetables, it guarantees a full serving of protein. Lentils are rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and tryptophan. Among the properties of lentil stand out the control of blood glucose and cholesterol.

LENTIL BENEFITS

Lentils, although small, are rich in fiber capable of lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels, being a powerful and beneficial food for people with diabetes, as it provides energy slowly, preventing blood glucose peaks. Fiber also helps the bowel to function properly, prevent digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, and lose weight.

The benefits of lentil go further. It has good amounts of vitamin C, folic acid, thiamine, iron, phosphorus and copper, it protects the cardiovascular system, helps fight some types of cancer and prevents anemia.

1.Helps to lose weight

Lentils are a source of fiber. The consumption of fiber is important for those looking for a healthy weight loss, as it improves the digestive process and the absorption of nutrients, while decreasing the absorption of fat and facilitating the elimination of toxins. Fiber also promotes the feeling of satiety, decreasing appetite and making you consume fewer calories.

2.Beneficial for muscles

Lentils have protein and iron, essential nutrients for building muscle. Proteins are the main constituent of muscle and iron is an important source of energy as it carries oxygen to cells.

3.Protects the cardiovascular system

Lentil has several important nutrients for the cardiovascular system, they are fiber, potassium and magnesium and vitamins B9 and B6.

Fiber helps to reduce cholesterol that, when in excess, builds up in the walls of blood vessels. Potassium and magnesium control the heartbeat and regulate blood pressure. Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, and vitamin B6 play an important role in the formation of blood cells and help control levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that, when in high concentrations, increases the risk of heart disease.

4. Advantageous for people with diabetes

Lentils have complex carbohydrates, which are released slowly, avoiding blood glucose peaks, an advantageous aspect for people with Diabetes.

5.Help in preventing some types of cancer

The B-complex vitamins, present in lentils, have antioxidant action, which fight free radicals that can be the precursors of some types of cancer. In addition, fiber improves intestinal transit and is beneficial in preventing colorectal cancer.

6. Beneficial for pregnant women

The folic acid present in lentils is beneficial for pregnant women, as this nutrient is important for the correct development of the fetal neural tube. Supplementation with folic acid is even recommended before a woman becomes pregnant.

Iron is also an important mineral during this period, as it is a component of hemoglobin and carries oxygen to the cells, preventing anemia and its symptoms such as tiredness and weakness.

7. Helps prevent anemia

Anemia and its symptoms appear when there is a decrease in red blood cells, thus compromising the correct oxygenation of tissues. When this happens, the person feels tired, weak, without energy. The iron present in lentils is a component of hemoglobin and carries oxygen throughout the body. Folic acid, on the other hand, acts in the synthesis of these red cells.

LENTIL – HOW TO MAKE

  • Lentils are affordable, easy to prepare, nutritious and can be consumed in different ways in different recipes. As it is purchased dry, unlike beans, it does not need to be soaked or cooked in a pressure cooker. They are easier to prepare and can be cooked on the stove or in a slow-cooker.
  • To learn how to prepare lentils, first sort the lentils, removing all the debris you can find, although when purchased directly from the supermarket, packaged, the selection process has already been done.
  • Wash the lentils, placing them in a colander to remove excess water. Unlike beans and some dried vegetables, lentils do not need to be soaked to soften.
  • Once washed, pour the lentils into a pan and add twice as much water and simmer until boiling for 20 to 30 minutes. If necessary, add more water, but just enough so that the lentils are covered.
  • Leave the lentils to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then drain and add salt and any other seasonings you prefer.

LENTIL RECIPES

This vegetable, in addition to being very nutritious, is versatile and can be used in various dishes with more elaborate lentil recipes. One of the simplet is rice with lentils, which can also be added with lentils with pepperoni, but one of the best known recipes is lentil soup.

LENTIL SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 cup and a half of lentils
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 large diced carrot
  • 1 pepperoni sausage cut into cubes
  • 1 finely chopped seedless pepper
  • salt, basil, parsley and chives to taste
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons of oil or olive oil

preparation mode

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil or olive oil and saute the garlic and onion. Add the lentils, salt and 3 cups of hot water and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Add the potatoes, carrots, pepperoni, basil, pepper and add another 2 cups of hot water and cook for 10 minutes after applying pressure. Turn off the heat, add the parsley and chives and it’s ready to serve.

LENTIL SALAD

Lentils are an ally in weight-loss diets for having few calories and low fat and many fibers and nutrients that are beneficial for the proper functioning of the body and healthy weight loss. One option for those on a diet is the lentil salad, which can be prepared with carrots, radishes, cucumbers, leeks, red lettuce, peppers, watercress, among others. Options abound to enjoy the benefits of lentils.

LENTIL SALAD WITH TOMATO

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cooked lentils;
  • 1 chopped tomato;
  • 1 medium onion, chopped;
  • lemon juice to taste;
  • olive oil to taste;
  • salt to taste;
  • black pepper to taste.

Preparation mode

Cook the lentils until tender, drain and set aside. Wash and cut other vegetables. In a bowl, mix the lentils, tomato, onion and season to taste with lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil.

 

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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