Lentils are an excellent source of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein with virtually no fat. The high folate content in lentils helps to lower the amino acid homocysteine, which is known to cause damage to artery walls and is considered a serious risk factor for heart disease. The magnesium in lentils also provide cardiovascular benefits, as magnesium improves the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen throughout the body. Studies show magnesium deficiencies are associated with heart attack and immediately following a heart attack, a lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart.
Lentils are rich in dietary fiber, both the soluble and insoluble type. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A study involving 10,000 Americans published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as lentils, helps to prevent heart disease. The high fiber content in lentils keeps blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal and helps to lower cholesterol. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.
Lentils are also a great source of iron, which is particularly important for menstruating, pregnant, or lactating women and growing children and adolescents. Boosting iron stores with lentils is a good idea because, unlike other sources of iron such as red meat, lentils are not rich in fat and calories. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
We can’t think of any reason not to consume this super-food. Check out our favorite recipes!