Like all pulses, lentils are on the base of the Mediterranean Diet pyramid which means that they should be eaten regularly every week. The high concentration of nutritional elements found in lentils has many benefits for health.
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases: Several studies have shown that eating high-fiber foods such as lentils reduces the risk of heart disease. This is due to the fact that lentils are a rich source of folic acid, which reduces homocysteine levels which are a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease. At the same time, lentils have a low glycemic index due to their rich fiber content. This means that they are absorbed slowly and do not increase blood sugar levels abruptly. This may be particularly useful for those who suffer from diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
- Source of proteins: Out of all pulses and nuts, lentils contain the third highest level of protein. 26% of the calories from lentils come from protein. This makes lentils an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and those who are avoiding meat for religious reasons. It is important to combine lentils with rice, as rice add the remaining amino acids which are not present in lentils. This gives our bodies protein with the highest biological value and ensures it is absorbed better by the body.
- Lentils act as a tonic for our systems: Lentils are a good source of iron which carries oxygen throughout your body and is crucial for energy and for our metabolisms.
- Losing Weight: Lentils are low in calories and fat. They are also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates which means that dishes made with lentils make you feel full up quickly, which means that it is a long time before you feel hungry again.
Lentils are a pulse that can easily be cooked in a variety of ways. It is a good idea to combine lentils with vegetables and herbs (eg zucchini, leeks, carrots, onions, peppers), which increase this traditional food’s content of nutrients such as:
- Vitamin C, which enhances the body’s absorption of the iron found in lentils, activates the immune system and has anti-aging properties as it contributes to the synthesis of collagen and improves the elasticity and firmness of the skin.
- Carotenoids (xanthine, lutein) which protect eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Adding extra virgin olive oil to lentils while they are cooking increases the absorption of carotenoids by the body.
- Combining vegetables and lentils creates an ideal meal for people with hypertension as it provides the body with magnesium and potassium to help regulate blood pressure. On top of this, eating lentils with vegetables provides the body with fiber which improves bowel function and prevents constipation.
Nutritional analysis of the recipe (per 100g)
- Provides 12% of the recommended daily dietary fiber requirements (good source).
- Low in sugars (since it contains less than 5g of sugars per 100g)