You may have heard and even eaten them, but do you know what are lentils and the incredible health benefits they have? Here we’ll tell you everything.
Lentils are a millenary legume with great nutritional value. Their cultivation and consumption dates back more than 9,000 years, and are believed to have originated in central Asia.
Due to their nutritional contribution, their consumption is very appropriate in athlete’s diets, as well as in vegetarian and vegan diets. For example, lentils do not contain gluten, but they do have a good amount of nucleic acids that are quite good at carrying out fundamental functions such as metabolism and energy distribution. Their contribution of fiber is also high -100g provide 12% of the fiber we need daily-, while their fat intake is very low.
Also, lentils are rich in B vitamins –mainly vitamin B3- vitamin C and A, folic acid and carotenoids. Their contribution of minerals is also high, highlighting iron –they are the legume that contributes more iron-, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and calcium.
They also have a good amount of vegetable proteins -100g provide 25g of protein, equivalent to 160g of meat- but they are incomplete since they are deficient in methionine, an essential amino acid. However, if lentils are combined with cereals, such as rice, which is rich in this essential amino acid, they are converted into proteins with a high biological value, comparable to those provided by animal foods.
Health benefits of lentils
With all this nutritional value, lentils have tons of health benefits. Here are some of them:
The contribution of group B vitamins together with phosphorus and antioxidant minerals favors concentration and memory even in degenerative diseases. Lentils are an incredibly good food for children and teenagers in studying and exams stages.
Cramps, muscle aches and osteoporosis
The contribution of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium favors bone remineralization and muscle recovery.
The contribution of vitamin A, carotenoids and antioxidant minerals favors an anti-aging effect on the skin, increasing its protection against solar radiation.
By providing iron with vitamin C for proper absorption, lentils are an ideal food for the recovery or prevention of anemia.
Lentils are associated with lower risks of heart diseases.
According to Healthline, one 8-week study in 48 overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes found that eating a one-third cup (60 grams) of lentils each day increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and significantly reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
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