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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Beans and Legumes >>  Lentils


Like other beans and legumes, lentils also have an impressive nutrient profile, but they are not considered complete food. Lentils can be cooked quickly and easily as compared to other beans and readily absorb various flavors of other foods and seasonings in which they are cooked. Lentils are available all round the year and can grow in pods with one or two lentil seeds.

Nutrition from lentils

Various studies prove that including beans or lentils two or more times per week is directly associated with 24% reduced risk for breast cancer. The fiber from lentils, like most of the other legumes helps lower cholesterol by binding with bile and eliminating it from the body.
Besides lowering cholesterol, fiber from lentils also help to control blood sugar levels in people with irregular glucose metabolism like in diabetes, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. Lentils may help to maintain the blood sugar levels by slowly burning the energy and providing steady amounts of glucose to the blood. The insoluble fiber in lentils helps to relieve constipation by increasing the stool bulk and may also prevent gastrointestinal disorders like diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Molybdenum is an important component of sulfite oxidase, an enzyme required for detoxification of sulfites. Sulfites when consumed in higher amounts (commonly added in prepared foods and salad bars) can cause headache, rapid heartbeat or disorientation. This reaction to sulfites is only possible when the body stores of molybdenum are low.

Maintain your heart health – various studies prove that lentils can lower the risk of heart attack and death from other coronary heart diseases. Researchers found that including legumes as a part of a healthy diet is associated with 82 % reduction in the risk of heart diseases and especially lentils in diet significantly lowers both LDL and total cholesterol in the body. Folate along with magnesium helps to keep the levels of homocysteine in check, as an increase value is associated with a risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium is also a natural calcium channel blocker and helps improve blood flow throughout the body.

The iron from lentils helps to replenish the low stores in the body and is especially important for menstruating women who are at high risk of anemia. Unlike meat it is wise to include lentils in diet as a source of iron as they are virtually fat free and low in calories. Manganese a trace mineral is an important cofactor for number of enzymes involved in energy production and antioxidant defense.
Submitted on January 16, 2014