Lentils are legumes that have a rich nutty taste. Lentils are grown in pods, which contain one or two seeds each. There are many different kinds of lentils and can be heart shaped, large, small, oval and round.
The brown and green lentils, which remain the same after cooking, are the most common types of lentils in the world. Lentils are rich in proteins, fiber, B-vitamins, and have good nutritional value without almost any calories. There are many other benefits of lentils, and below is in detail all you should know about this amazing plant:
Lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, while low in calories and fat. Their high protein amount makes it a perfect option for those people who are trying to boost their protein intake.They naturally contain no gluten, making them a delicious staple in a gluten-free diet. Their low GI (glycemic index) values and resistant starch content make them suitable for a diabetic diet. Lentils are a good source of protein which means that when you eat it, you are sure to be fuelled up all day long.
With its high fiber content, lentils are well known for many health benefits. The intake of high-fiber food is associated with protection against developing type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. Lentils contain even more potassium than a banana that can counteract the damaging effect of sodium and has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Lentils are a great source of folate, and folate helps support and proper nerve functions and red blood cell formation. And even more, the water-soluble vitamin in lentils may help prevent anemia and protect against developing heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Just 100 grams of lentils provides a half of your daily iron needs! Iron plays an integral role in the formation of hemoglobin in the blood.
For vegetarians, getting enough iron is particularly challenging, so regularly consummation of lentils in your diet can help boost your iron intake. Lentils are a very good source of manganese, which is stored mainly in our bones and in major organs including the liver, kidney, and pancreas. Manganese plays a role in protecting against free-radical damage and maintaining normal blood sugar level,
How to prepare it
Lentils do not require soaking and cook much faster than dried beans. Lentils are generally used in soups and stews. Brown and green lentils hold their shape long time when cooking them, and can be added to salads and other dishes. The lentils are soft after cooking and are used mainly in soups and stews and are made into purees.
How to buy lentils
Lentils are dried and are available during the whole year. Lentils are sold in a bulk form or prepackaged in bags or boxes. When buying prepackaged lentils, make sure the packaging has not been damaged and that there is no sign of moisture damage. The more common varieties are found in most food stores but some varieties are only available in Ethnic markets and specialty stores.
In some rare cases, lentils caused the food intolerance reaction or migraine headaches in some people. In these cases, the lentils should be eliminated from the diet. Lentils contain a number of toxic compounds that may interfere with the action or absorption of vitamins. They also contain anti-vitamin E compound. Heating and cooking remove most of these substances, but to compensate for any vitamin loss, it is known practice to balance legume consumption with some fruits and vegetables.