We love lentils. And you will, too—once you learn their various nutritional qualities.
Maybe you’re new to the legume-game and you’re wondering, “what are lentils?”
Here is a short-and-sweet family history of lentils:
Lentils are like beans, because they also derive from the legume family. A legume is a plant. Grown agriculturally, legumes produce a grain seed called a “pulse.” A lentil is an edible pulse.
Now that you have a brief agricultural history of lentils in your food-knowledge arsenal, let’s dive into the fun stuff: The benefits of lentils, the health claims that are associated with lentils, and how you can easily incorporate these legumes into your meals.
Lentils are Nutritional Royalty
Lentils are grown and adored all over the world, so it is nearly impossible to quantify how many different varieties there are available for consumption. In Asia, India, and the Middle East, lentils are a dietary staple. The most common varieties you may find to purchase locally are green lentils, yellow lentils, red lentils, and black lentils.
No matter which type you prefer, you can look forward to the unwavering potential for nutrition. Dietitians everywhere speak to the health benefits and easy accessibility of adding lentils to a diet.
For starters: Lentils are accessible and easy.
It’s not expensive to purchase a generous portion of lentils. And for the amount of nutrition, (which we’ll touch on in a moment), that’s available in a cup of lentils, the typical consumer will definitely get their money’s worth.
Lentils do not spoil quickly. Similar to other beans, you can purchase them dry and in bulk without having to worry about the expiration date. It is recommended that dry lentils are stored in a container or in an air-tight bag, and away from the exposure of heat or moisture.
Lentils are so, so, so nutritious!
Lentils are packed with protein.
Lentils contain the third-highest level of protein in the legume and nut family.
If you’re considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, your doctor may suggest that you fill your plate with generous portions of lentils, to make up for the absence of meat on your diet.
If you supplement lentils with green and grains, especially brown rice, you will have the complete package of all of the essential amino acids necessary for a good diet.
Lentils are also high in fiber. Studies have shown that “eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease.” Along with the great source of fiber, lentils also provide you with magnesium and folate, which further assist in good heart health.
This might be TMI, and definitely not appropriate dinner-talk, but if you struggle with constipation, you may want to consider eating more lentils. One of the benefits of adding fiber to your diet is that it may assist in digestive disorders like constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.
Simply add lentils to any meal you’re cooking.
It’s easy to cook lentils. Measure out how much you want to cook and then carefully pick through them to remove any pebbles that might have lingered in transit. Rise the lentils under cold water and then transfer them to a pot. Lentils generally have a 2:1 water ratio, similar to cooking rice. They can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes to steam to completion.
You can build an entire meal around the lentils you cooked, or you can simply toss some in as an extra ingredient. You won’t be disappointed.
Hungry for more? We have over 1000 recipes that you can discover. Start with our best sellers to find your new favorite meal kit.