Lentils belong to the legume varieties and they are healthy edible seeds or pulses. Lentils contain two halves that are covered in a husk. The husk can be either removed or left intact, as it as a rich source of fibre.
There are several different kinds of lentils like black lentils, brown lentils, red lentils, yellow lentils, yellow split peas, black eyed peas, mung beans, etc.
Lentils are a great source of protein, carbohydrates, dietary fibre, essential amino acids like isoleucin and lysine. It also contains various minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, molybdenum, vitamin B1, folate and tryptophan.
Hence, lentils are considered to be the best dietary sources when it comes to supporting heart health, managing diabetes, preventing cancer, improving digestion, aiding weight loss, treating anaemia, boosting nervous health and also in preventing atherosclerosis in pregnant women.
Lentils are low in calories, high in nutrition and are perfect to be included in salads and for dinners.
They are also high in nutritional value and anybody can benefit by including this healthy legume in their diet.
In this article, we have mentioned about some of the top health benefits of lentils. So continue reading in order to know what are the health benefits of lentils and also of a few possible side effects that one can face.
1. Lowers Cholesterol:
Lentils contain high levels of soluble fibre and hence help to reduce the blood cholesterol levels effectively. Lowering the cholesterol levels will help reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke, by keeping the arteries clean.
2. Heart Health:
Eating high levels of fibre-rich foods helps reduce the risk of heart diseases. Lentils are also great sources of folate and magnesium that are known to be great contributors to heart health.
Folate helps in lowering the homocysteine levels, which is a serious risk factor for heart diseases. Magnesium helps in increasing the blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart diseases.
3. Digestive Health:
Lentils contain insoluble digestive fibres that help prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. This is one of the top health benefits of lentils.
4. Stabilizes The Blood Sugar Level:
The soluble fibre in lentils traps carbohydrates, slows down digestion and helps in stabilizing the blood sugar levels. This can be very helpful in case of preventing diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycaemia.
5. Contains Good Proteins:
Out of all the legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third highest levels of protein. 26% of the calories are attributed to protein. This makes lentils an amazing source of protein for vegetarians.
6. Increases Energy:
Lentils help in providing energy to the body due to its fibre and complex carbohydrate content. They are also a good source of iron that helps in transporting oxygen throughout the body and plays a key role in energy production and metabolism.
7. Weight Loss:
Lentils are very low in calories and contain no fat at all. One cup of lentils contains about 230 calories and leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
8. Prevents Cancer:
Lentils also have the ability to counteract cancer. Lentils can cause cytotoxicity and apoptosis in the body, which means they can manage the growth of cancer cells. This is also regarded as one of the top health benefits of lentils.
9. Brain Health:
Just one cup of legume can contain upto 90% of your daily requirement for folate, which plays an important role in the production of neurotransmitters that boost the functioning of the nervous system.
10. Improves The Electrolytic Activity:
Electrolytic activity plays an important role in the proper functioning of the body. Lentils contain potassium that is considered to be the best substitute for electrolytic activity and this is considered even better than sodium. By consuming lentils, the potassium in it acts as an electrolyte and this is beneficial for the proper functioning of the organs like the brain, heart and kidney.
11. Tones Muscles:
Muscles require a constant supply of protein for repair and growth. Lentils help in that big time. They also contain a wide range of amino acids that are necessary for muscle building and proper functioning of the body.
12. Supports Women's Health:
Lentils are considered as a healthy food, especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is because legume is rich in iron and 200 grams of lentils can satisfy upto 36% of the daily requirements of iron in one person. Women require a constant supply of iron for maintaining menstrual health and for healthy pregnancy.
Possible Side Effects Of Consuming Excess Of Lentils:
a. Kidney Stones:
In some cases, the consumption of excess lentils can cause kidney stones. Some kinds of lentils like soybeans, refried beans and soy foods contain a high number of oxalate compounds that are responsible for forming kidney stones in the body.
b. Kidney Diseases:
Overconsumption of protein can give stress to the kidneys, preventing it from eliminating the toxins in the body. This is one of the main causes of kidney stones.
c. Fermentation And Formation Of Gas:
Lentils can ferment and release gas in the body after you consume them. This can lead to some discomfort in the stomach. Hence, you need to chew them slowly and also avoid eating large portions of meals containing lentils.