Are Lentils Good for You? 8 Reasons to Eat More Lentils

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.

Lowers Cholesterol 

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.

7 Health Benefits of Flaxseed

Flaxseeds may be small, but they pack a big nutrient punch. Among its nutrient highlights, flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acid, fiber and lignans.

Most people can benefit from adding flaxseed into their diet. To reap the most benefits, flax seeds should be ground since your body cannot break down the whole seeds. You can buy flaxseed pre-ground or buy whole seeds and use a coffee grinder or blender to grind your own. Make sure to store ground flaxseed in the fridge to prevent spoilage and oxidation.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Flax Seeds

Here are seven amazing health benefits of flaxseed.

High in Omega-3’s

Flaxseed is full of omega-3 fatty acid, which is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that has health benefits for the whole body. Omega-3’s help prevent heart disease and stroke; and may lower levels of depression, reduce inflammation, reduce symptoms of ADHD, protect against alzheimers and dementia, and help control auto-immune conditions.

Anti-inflammatory

Due to being a rich source of omega-3’s, flaxseed may help to reduce inflammation. Omega-3’s reduce the release of several elements that play a part in inflammation from your white blood cells.

Supports Healthy Blood Sugar

Studies have shown that a tablespoon of daily ground flax seeds can improve fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c (average blood sugar levels).

Healthy Estrogen Balance

Flaxseed’s high lignan content supports hormone balance. Lignans are a type of phytoestrogen that bind to estrogen in the intestine and make sure it’s excreted through feces instead of being absorbed back into the bloodstream.

High Fiber, Low Carb

Flaxseed is a great fiber option for those following a low-carb diet. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2g of carbohydrates and 1.9 g of fiber. Fiber is essential for lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar levels, maintaining weight, improving digestion, and lowering the risk of heart disease.

It Helps with Symptoms of Menopause 

Flaxseed’s phytoestrogen properties could help alleviate symptoms of menopause, like hot flushes, fatigue, and mood changes, by raising estrogen levels in this time period.

It Promotes Digestive Health 

Due to its high fiber content, flaxseed can improve digestive function by allowing you to have regular bowel movements.

Steel Cut vs Old Fashioned Oats – What’s the Difference?

Oats are an amazingly nutritious food packed with complex carbohydrate, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. In recent years, you may have heard more about steel cut oats. Perhaps you’ve wondered how they match up against the more familiar old-fashioned oatmeal. The good news is, both forms of oats are equally nutrient-packed. Deciding which type you’ll keep stocked in your pantry is largely a personal preference. Here is what you need to know about steel cut and old-fashioned oatmeal. 

Old fashioned oats (left) vs Arrowhead Mills Organic Steel Cut Oats (right)

The two oats look and cook different

If you were to pour out these oatmeal varieties side-by-side, you will notice they look quite different. While old-fashioned oats are larger and flatter, steel cut oats are much smaller, angular pieces, and these differences in appearance lead to their own unique textures. When cooked with liquid, old-fashioned oats become much softer, while steel cut oats maintain a firmer texture even when cooked. This difference in texture may also influence how you plan to enjoy your oats. For example, if using raw oats in a recipe, like energy balls or muesli, old-fashioned would be a better bet. They are softer and more digestible when raw. Steel cut oats are less ideal in their raw form as they are quite crunchy. However, both types of oats can be enjoyed after being cooked. 

Consider food volume when choosing oats

Another consideration when comparing steel cut and old-fashioned oats is food volume. One half cup of raw old-fashioned oats is considered to be a serving. One quarter cup raw is the serving for steel cut oats. One serving of each will provide nearly identical amounts of nutrients; however, their serving sizes are quite different. For someone who feels more satiated with a larger volume of food, old fashioned oats may meet your needs better than steel cut. However, if smaller, more compact meals are easier for your daily routine, steel cut oats are the better option for you. 

Steel Cut Oats Granola

They both have similar nutrition per serving

Each variety of oats provides roughly 150 calories, 28 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber per serving, and falls similarly on the glycemic index scale. Both options can easily be cooked in bulk, although steel cut will take longer than old fashioned oats. The versatility of each is expansive. Oatmeal can be enjoyed with savory or sweet toppings, added to a smoothie for a nutrient boost, incorporated into your favorite cookie recipe, or blended into a “milk”, to name just a few ways to add oats into your wellness routine. 

Try these recipes with Arrowhead Mills Organic Steel Cut Oats:

What is Organic?

“It’s Organic.” Just saying it makes you feel healthy. You may not even know why, but you are positive that choosing the organic labeled cereal you were deciding between is indeed going to be the better choice. While labels and marketing can be sometimes be informative, we are here to answer to the question “why?” Just like there is no sense in having a shield in battle if you don’t know how to use it, there is no sense in having a label if you’re not sure what it means.

Products are labeled “organic” on the shelf

The organic label you are seeing refers to as defined by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, “products must be produced using agricultural production practices that foster resource cycling, promote ecological balance, maintain and improve soil and water quality, minimize the use of synthetic materials and conserve biodiversity.” That is a lot of words for a little label. So we at Arrowhead Mills will venture to break it down.

What exactly does that mean?

Resource cycling can refer to a few things. For example, using compost or natural waste materials broken down by a plethora of microbes and fungi turning into nutrient rich plant food.

Additionally, this phrase can refer to something called cover crops or nutrient cycling. At the end of a growing season, the farmer sows seeds of a plant that will return nutrients to the depleted soil. According to Farm Progress, “nutrient cycling is a complex process by which soil microbes convert nutrients that are locked up or otherwise unavailable to the plants such as nitrogen and phosphorus into plant available nutrients.” A crop like corn consumes nitrogen is followed by a crop cover plant that returns nitrogen to the soil like soy beans. This offers a harmonious relationship for long term sustainability.

This also aids in maintaining the hydration to the soil and increases the soils organic matter. These cover crops can decrease soil erosion, runoff, drainage, air flow and much more. When the cover crops decompose at the end of their season, they add even more nutrients to the soil and mycorrhiza (beneficial fungi).

Organic is mostly associated with minimal synthetic materials

The minimizing of synthetic materials and conserving of biodiversity, however, is probably what the organic label is most known for. Infamously, correlated with this subject is glyphosate. This toxic active ingredient herbicide and crop desiccant has made headlines for its debated link to cancer. The famous weed killer ingredient since its 1974 debut has been used in hundreds of industrial and commercial products.

With the ingredient itself being so detrimental to the soil, modified herbicide tolerant crops have been developed by the food industry, resulting in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). But that topic is for another time.

The nation’s huge increase of glyphosate has been directed to this very use. While many studies of glyphosate and its potential link to cancer are still open and ongoing, billions of dollars in damages have been paid for this alleged link. While herbicide manufacturers still stand by their products, the $10 million dollars settled on for future and current lawsuits as reported by CNN does make some weary about the idea of consuming known contaminated products.

The litany of reasons to choose organic is ongoing. From its lack of being processed with toxic chemicals like the neurotoxin hexane or being prohibited from fertilizing with sewage sludge that can contain things like heavy metals, pathogens, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors and so much more — it’s no wonder that more people are choosing organic.

The organic revolution is here

Revolutions have birthed ingenuity, curiosity and change. True change is tested rigorously by time, allowing the faults in its mechanisms to organically weed itself out. Nothing, time has shown us, is an exception to this scrutiny. You cannot synthesize our humanistic desire to find a better way of doing things.

“At Arrowhead Mills, the way we see it is that when you take out all those synthetic chemicals, there’s just more room left for natural goodness.”

Is Quinoa Gluten Free?

Several years ago my friend asked me if I had ever heard of a new trendy grain called quinoa.  She went on to tell me that it’s gluten free, tastes good, and goes with so many dishes!  I hesitated to burst her bubble and inform her that this wasn’t a “new” grain at all! It had originated in the mountains of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, and had been around for 5,000-7,000 years! 

Quinoa is categorized as a grain but technically is a seed. It comes from the spinach family and is the only grain to have all nine essential amino acids making it a protein powerhouse!

Is Quinoa Gluten Free?

Yes! Quinoa is naturally a gluten free grain. However, even though it’s naturally gluten free, it’s considered a high-risk grain since it is often harvested with wheat, barley, and rye.  Cross contact may occur making it no longer safe for those with extreme sensitivities to gluten. If you have a severe allergy or celiac disease, it’s important to buy quinoa that is labeled or certified gluten free. Fortunately, Arrowhead Mills Organic Quinoa is gluten free.

Does Quinoa have Carbohydrates?

Quinoa has about 39g of carbohydrates per ½ cup serving (cooked).  Despite the high carbohydrate amount, quinoa is low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a scale that measures how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar. Quinoa has a low glycemic index because it is rich in fiber and protein which help to regulate the rise and fall of blood sugar.  If you follow a low-carb or keto-style diet, you will need to monitor your serving size of quinoa.

Should I Eat Quinoa? 

Quinoa is high in fiber and protein as well as many vitamins and minerals that are lacking in many diets. It also offers a healthy, whole food source of carbohydrates and is rich in magnesium, potassium, iron, and folate.  It’s also helped many of my clients with weight loss and weight management since it’s very satiating. As a Registered Dietitian, I highly recommend adding this amazing grain into your routine.

5 Ways to Add More Millet Into Your Routine

Millet is an ancient grain that is extremely nutritious!  It is gaining popularity in western culture but because it’s traditionally been used as animal feed, many people do not know how to use it. Below are five different ways you can use millet throughout the week! 

Arrowhead Mills Puffed Millet vs Millet Flour
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Millet and Arrowhead Mills Organic Millet Flour

1. Make Chocolate Chip Cookies:

I love cuddling up with warm cookies once it starts to get chilly. Cozy sweaters, leggings, and chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite combos for these days.  

Millet cookies are soft, chewy, and gluten-free! Try these Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook millet flour on the stove on low heat for about one minute until the smell disappears. In a bowl combine millet flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

In a separate bowl mix butter, cane sugar, and vanilla together. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes (it will be sticky)

Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper and add small drops of dough to make cookies.  Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes. Leave cookies on the tray for 5 minutes so they don’t break when you remove them. 

2. Make a Breakfast Cake:

My obsession with breakfast cake comes from having busy mornings where I need to grab my breakfast on the go!  Breakfast bakes can be a great alternative to add millet into your routine! This recipe is also great for kids and toddlers.

Try this Millet Banana Cake!

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the banana into slices and then mash with a fork. Add mashed banana, monk fruit, oil, and vanilla into a mixer. Once mixed evenly add the milk. Use a sieve over your wet ingredients and add the Millet flour.  Add in whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well and then fold in the nuts. Grease your loaf pan and pour the batter inside. Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Once cooked, let it cook for 5 minute and serve!

3. Mix it into a Casserole or Stew:

Millet flour can be added into savory recipes that call for traditional flour like casseroles and stew.

4. Bake Your Own Homemade Millet Bread:

Millet bread is especially great for gluten free diets! 

Prep: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 325°F.   Spray a 9×5-inch loaf baking pan.

In a bowl mix dry ingredients: millet flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a different bowl mix water, vinegar, and psyllium husk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until you see a gel forming.

Combine the psyllium mixture and the flour mixture. Once it turns into a dough with wet hands shape the dough into a loaf and place it into a loaf pan. Bake for 90 minutes or until the top is a pale golden brown. The bread will sound hollow when tapped. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

5. Cooking For Pickers Eaters? Hide It in Pizza Crust!

Who doesn’t like pizza?!  Making a millet pizza crust is a great way to add this amazing grain to your children’s diet without them noticing.

Ingredients

Directions:

Combine the millet flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add the egg and soymilk. Pour batter into a non-stick skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Put your crust on a baking pan and add your favorite toppings!  Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F.

Stock up on your Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Millet.

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