Lentils are one of the legumes with the most nutritional properties that provide health to the body, since they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are important for the proper functioning of the body.
In the following article, we give you all the information you need to know about this food, its properties and benefits for the well-being of the body.
What are lentils?
Lentils ( Lens culinaris Med ) are legumes from Asia, and are considered one of the oldest foods in the world. Its consumption prevents the appearance of some diseases of the circulatory system, some types of cancer, strengthens muscles and provides benefits to the digestive system.
Note: Their high vegetable protein content makes them a substitute for protein of animal origin.
What do lentils contribute to the human body?
The benefits of lentils come from their nutritional compounds , and they bring improvements to people’s health. Here we mention them:
1. They prevent heart disease
One of the benefits of lentils is that they contain valuable and beneficial vitamins and minerals that promote the activity of the circulatory system.
Lentils do not contain cholesterol and their fat content is very low , so they prevent the appearance of circulatory diseases such as arteriosclerosis or dyslipidemia. (1)
Note: The consumption of legumes has been scientifically associated with an inverse relationship in the suffering of cardiovascular diseases. (two)
2. Regulate blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose
Lentils provide a high content of vegetable dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, a component that prevents the absorption of saturated fats into the body.
This prevents the increase in bad cholesterol , a molecule associated with the increase in the thickness of the walls of veins and arteries, which increases blood pressure, therefore lentils can preserve heart health. (3)
To highlight: The soluble fiber contained in lentils also helps in reducing the absorption of glucose through the digestive tract, favoring its regulation, preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes. (4)
3. They promote the proper functioning of the nervous system and the digestive system
Another of the benefits of lentils is that they provide various vitamins that favor the functioning of the Nervous System.
The combination of B vitamins, especially folic acid, with minerals such as magnesium and calcium, contribute to a better performance in cognitive and brain functions.
On the other hand, the fiber content, both soluble and insoluble, facilitates the digestion of food and the transit of feces through the colon, preventing constipation.
Important: It is recommended to consume legumes, including lentils, about 3 times a week in 100-gram portions.
4. They fight anemia
Lentils contain folic acid and iron, essential micronutrients in the synthesis of hemoglobin and in the production of red blood cells, thereby helping to prevent the onset of iron deficiency anemia. (5)
To highlight: Lentils provide 71% of the daily iron requirements and approximately 9% of the minimum daily requirements for vitamin B9.
5. They enhance memory and attention
Lentils are an important source of a vitamin important for the cognitive functions of the brain , called folate. Folate is the form of folic acid that comes naturally from vegetables.
Note: Folate has the ability to improve and enhance some brain functions such as memory and attention.
Also participating in this benefit are thiamine, calcium, zinc and magnesium , important micronutrients for strengthening these cognitive functions.
6. They increase physical energy
Lentils contain a significant amount of vegetable protein, which contains the necessary amino acids for the reconstruction and strengthening of muscle mass, thus favoring the development of daily physical activity.
In addition, they contain healthy carbohydrates whose main function is to provide all the immediate energy to the body for daily physical tasks, making them essential in the daily diet.
7. They promote pregnancy
Another of the benefits of lentils is that it favors the development of the human fetus during the pregnancy stage.
The sources of folates contained in this food prevent the appearance of fetal disorders and pathologies such as: low birth weight, preterm newborns and neural tube defects. (6)
8. They contribute to weight loss
Among the benefits of lentils, is that with their dietary fiber content , quality vegetable protein, low in fat and without cholesterol, they are part of the foods indicated in weight loss regimes.
They also contribute to creating that feeling of satiety , so important for those people undergoing diets to improve their levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, blood glucose and improve their digestion.
Note: Lentils should be consumed with caution in people with arthritis, osteoarthritis, arteriosclerosis and gout, since they contain uric acid and purines in their composition.
9. They protect against some types of cancer
Eating lentils helps prevent some types of cancer, since its vegetable fiber content helps in intestinal transit, protecting it from the appearance of colon cancer.
This thanks to its high content of polyphenols, predominantly phenolic acids, flavonoids and selenium, compounds with antioxidant action that prevent the proliferation of malignant cells.
Nutritional properties of lentils
Lentils contain a significant number of properties , which provide the aforementioned health benefits and which we describe below:
1. Vitamins and minerals
Among the vitamins that lentils have are vitamin B1 or thiamine, vitamin B2 or riboflavin, vitamin B3 or thiamine, vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, folates, vitamin C and A.
Among the minerals are iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, sodium and iodine. Selenium has antioxidant properties for the benefit of the body. (7)
2. Fiber and protein
This food contains soluble and insoluble dietary fibers , as well as vegetable proteins of high biological value and healthy carbohydrates.
How can you consume lentils?
This food can be consumed in various recipes in the kitchen. The most common is to consume them stewed, accompanied by other vegetables.
Although they have a sweet taste, they take on the flavor of the rest of the ingredients that accompany them or they can also be eaten in salads.
Tip: It is recommended to soak these legumes in water before cooking and not to heat them for a long time so that they retain most of their nutrients.
- Lentils contain proteins of high biological value.
- These legumes provide soluble and insoluble dietary fibers , important for digestive and intestinal function.
- They balance the values of cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose in the blood.
- Its consumption provides folates, an essential nutrient for pregnant women and for the growth and development of the pregnant woman.
University Professional in the area of Human Resources, Postgraduate in Occupational Health and Hygiene of the Work Environment, 14 years of experience in the area of health. Interested in topics of Psychology, Occupational Health, and General Medicine.