For a humble-looking legume, lentils have a lot to offer! One cup of cooked lentils has 200-250 calories, less than a gram of total fat, 40g of carbs, 16g of dietary fiber, and 18g of protein. From a micronutrient stand-point lentils are a rich source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6, and contain calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid.
Outside of lentils’ impressive nutrition portfolio, they have a variety of uses and can be quite delicious. Added to salads, soups and stews, or even ground into a flour, there are countless ways to use them.
Here are some of the amazing health benefits of lentils.
Good Source of Plant-Based Protein
Boasting 18g of protein per one cup of cooked lentils makes them an amazing protein source for vegans and vegetarians.
Rich in Dietary Fiber
In addition to protein, lentils are full of fiber, which is important for healthy digestion and weight management. At 16g of fiber per cup cooked, that takes care of over half the daily recommended fiber intake.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar
The balance of fiber and protein in lentils slows the absorption of glucose into your cells, preventing blood sugar spikes after meals and stabilizing your blood sugar.
Supports Weight Loss
Eating lentils may aid in weight loss. The rich fiber and protein content helps you feel full and stay full longer which reduces overall food intake and fights cravings. Lentils are also rich in magnesium, which can also help manage cravings.
High in Iron
Lentils are a great source of iron, especially for plant-based eaters. Iron is essential for carrying oxygen and other nutrients to all parts of the body, hence improving energy.
Improves Heart Health
Lentils are full of nutrients that support heart health, including fiber, potassium, and folic acid. Studies have shown that increased fiber intake can lower cholesterol. Potassium helps keep your heart beat regularly, while folic acid aids in red blood cell production.
Studies have shown that one serving of lentils or other legumes a day can lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) due to their high fiber content.
Low Sodium Food
If you’re watching your sodium intake, lentils are a great option! They are naturally sodium-free, meaning you have control over how much sodium you want to add.