Thursday, July 19, 2012

7 HEALTH BENEFITS OF LENTILS


7 Health Benefits of Lentils

Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are the perfect legume to eat in the summer in salads, spreads, for crudité and crackers, and as an item on a vegetarian dinner plate. These are foods that are easy to cook, and lentils are a hassle-free compliment to any meal. Nutty and earthy in flavor, lentils have a high nutritional value that anyone can benefit from ...by incorporating this healthy legume into their diet.

Eat lentils and reap their health benefits including:

1. Lower Cholesterol – Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber. Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean.
2. Heart Health – Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!

3. Digestive Health – Insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

4. Stabilized Blood Sugar – Adding to the many benefits of fiber, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
5. Good Protein – Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. 26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

6. Increases Energy – Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fiber and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.

7. Weight Loss – Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.

Adapted from: Julie Wilcox, mindbodygreen.com

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