Lentils were once referred to as “the poor man’s food,” however it has provided man with invaluable sustenance for thousands of years’ in fact as long as 13,000 years. Lentils have been a primary food source of Indian and Middle Eastern cultures since Neolithic times.
They are a great source of protein and nutrients and have been shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and improve heart health. Also with the growing popularity of meatless entrees, lentils have become a staple in many kitchens as a high-protein food.
The small flax seed provides many health benefits and can easily be added to the daily diet.
- Great Source of Protein: Lentils are high in protein with a whopping twenty-six percent of their calories being attributed to protein.
- Increases Energy: Because of the fiber content and complex carbohydrates found in lentils, when consumed, the body burns the carbohydrates and protein at a slower rate, which acts as an energy source. This combination of also helps regulate metabolism.
- Supports Heath Health: Lentils and their content of healthy protein along with fiber, folate, and magnesium make this legume a big contender for supporting a healthy heart. Magnesium has been linked directly to a healthy heart and when levels are diminished, heart issues occur. This is because magnesium supports healthy blood flow and helps deliver oxygen throughout the body.
- Promotes Healthy pH Levels: Because lentils contain an alkaline source of protein, they are beneficial in helping bring pH levels in the body to a healthy balance. The American diet is often full of fried foods or foods that contain large amounts of sugar, all of which wreak havoc on the body’s pH level, making it overly acidic. When the body is acidic, that is when sickness and disease occurs. When lentils are incorporated into the diet, the healthy protein along with the fiber content helps support excretion of unhealthy waste while also promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. Also, a healthy pH level in the body assists in preventing digestive related diseases, colon disease, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Nutrition Facts per 1-cup Cooked Lentils:
Protein – 18 grams
Folate – 358 milligrams
Fiber – 15 grams
Zinc – 2.5 milligrams
Iron – 6.6 grams
Manganese – 1 milligram
Lentils can be prepared quickly, even from the dried state, and unlike most legumes, lentils do not require pre-soaking, making them a convenient, nutritious source for soups and last-minute prepared dishes.
The lentil is an edible seed produced by the annual Leguminosae plant, a member of the pea family. The plant typically grows in height from 6 to 18 inches and the tiny lens-shaped lentil seed is extracted from a pod that usually contains 2 – 3 seeds each.
The lentil is rich with history dating back to the Bronze Age and has been grown along the Mediterranean coast as well as Germany, France, Egypt, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Historical accounts indicate that the lentil seed was dried and taken on long journeys to be traded for other goods.