Happy Friday! I can’t believe another week has already almost passed us by! I hope it was a great one for you!
Today’s edition of Food Facts Friday, features an awesome little legume called the lentil!
Honestly, I had never even heard of a lentil until I packed up and went off to college in a tiny little farm town, called Pullman. Pullman actually has an annual festival, Lentil Fest, honoring the lentil! Sounds like something out of “You know you’re in a farm town when…”, but it’s true!
After my initial introduction to the lentil, it still took me a while to accept it as a part of my diet. I hadn’t yet discovered all of the amazing soups, chilis, and more that can be made with lentils! I also didn’t know what a nutrition powerhouse these little guys are!
Check out the nutrition for one cup of cooked lentils:
- 230 Calories
- 18 g Protein
- 15 g Fiber
- 89% Folate
- 49% Manganese
- 37% Vitamin A
- 36% Iron
- 35% Phosphorus
- 25% Copper
- 22% Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- 21% Potassium
- 10% Magnesium
- 10% Zinc
Beyond these stats, consuming lentils also benefits the body in a number of ways.
Thanks to awesome nutrients like folate, magnesium, and fiber, lentils make for a very happy heart! Folate helps to lower homocysteine levels in the blood, which lowers the risk of Coronary Artery Disease. Magnesium works as a natural calcium blocker in the body, allowing blood vessels to relax, improving blood and oxygen flow. The high level of soluble fiber in lentils works to help usher cholesterol-containing bile out of the body in an efficient manner, keeping it from making its way into your vessels to become blockages!
The high fiber content in lentils is good for a number of reasons, one of which is blood sugar regulation. The low glycemic index of lentils means that their sugars enter the system slowly, preventing spikes in blood glucose levels! This is also beneficial to those without diabetes, because the body becomes more susceptible to every kind of ailment when blood sugar levels increase!
Lots of fiber equals lots of movement, in the bowel, that is. Eating lentils will help keep you regular by adding bulk, and preventing constipation. They can also help prevent GI diseases, such as IBS and diverticulosis, as well as bowel cancer!
I mentioned above that the high amount of fiber in lentils can help protect you from bowel cancer, but that’s not all! The winning combination of folate and vitamin B6 found in lentils, can help ward off breast cancer!
Great for Vegans
Lentils have one of the highest percentages of protein of all plant foods, at 18 grams per cup! Combine that with high levels of iron, zinc, B-vitamins, and you’ve got yourself one fantastic meat replacement!
After finding out just how great lentils are, I can’t wait to share a delicious new lentil-featuring recipe with you later this week!