The Benefits of Lentils
Nutritious and flavorful lentil beans are very healthy. Who would of thought that such small beans help lower cholesterol, prevent blood sugar and digestive disorders, are a good source of proteins, calcium, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B, vitamin C and many other minerals? They also provide anti-aging benefits, are very low in fat and glucides but just enough calories to fill us up.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, called them "little wonders" and recommended men to consume these miraculous beans. Aristotle followed this practice and used to eat them with saffron. Some historical sources relate that lentils were one of the very first foods to be cultivated in Asia.
Now available throughout the year and almost everywhere on the globe, lentils can be prepared in many ways: soups, salads, dips, quiches and even as an extra ingredient in breads . You might find this surprising but it's a practice that has been used for centuries because this type of bread is rich in fibers and proteins.
Lentils good for the heart
Many studies have confirmed that lentils can reduce the risk of heart disease by a high percentage. Moreover, the folate they contain control the level of homocysteine in the blood and prevent the damage of the artery walls. Equally important is the magnesium which enhances the blood circulation and prevents veins from blocking.
Lentils for Weight Loss & Digestion
Because they contain proteins they can easily substitute meat. Replacing red meat with lentils means you can have all the nutrients your body needs without the solid calories. They also contain iron which ads to your energy level and folic acid, a very important nutrient. One cup of cooked lentils provide the recommended daily value of folic acid, thus it is recommended for vegetarians and pregnant women.
Lentils for Cancer Prevention
It has been proven that lentils stimulate cancer preventing enzymes and can help lowering harmful estrogen levels that could lead to breast cancer. According to a study in the International Journal of Cancer, women who eat beans and lentils have a significantly lower risk of developing this type of cancer because they contain antioxidants. fiber and phytoestrogens.
Lentils for Diabetes
Lentils prevent extreme insulin increases and stabilize blood sugar levels because they provide a slower and more consistent source of glucose to the bloodstream as they stimulate less insulin release than other high glycemic foods. However lentils contain 20 grams of carbohydrates per cup. That's a fact that should be taken into consideration by diabetics. But keep in mind that not all the carbs are bad. The ones found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and starches are complex carbohydrates and are different than the simple ones found in potato, pasta, sugar and other processed foods. Lentil is also high in fiber which prevents type 2 diabetes.
Facts to know about lentils:
1. Do not combine newly-purchased lentils with old ones. They will cook unevenly.
2. Do not add salt while you cook the lentils. Add salt when they are completely cooked, otherwise they will harden.
3. Lentils have been found in the tombs of Egypt dating back to 2400 B.C. Egyptians used them as an aphrodisiac and thought that they had the power to enlightened the mind.
4. According to the Bible, Esau was tricked into selling his birthright for some red lentil stew.
5. Lentils are not very expensive and during the Word War II people were encouraged to eat lentil to help the economy.