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Lentils

 Lentils 

Lentils have a very long association with mankind, as it is believed that these pulses have been included in human diet since Neolithic times. According to historians, lentil plants are among the first domesticated ones in the near East (countries of Western Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and Iran), which is believed to be the place of origin of these plants.

What are Lentils?

Lentils are plants belonging to the legume family and the dried seeds of lentils are considered as pulses. But all legumes or all pulses are not lentils. They are bushy annual plants, with a maximum height of around forty centimeters. Like legumes, the lens-shaped seeds of lentils also grow in pods. As compared to legumes, lentils are smaller in size. Fresh lentils are not used for human consumption, but the dried seeds are cooked or boiled before eating.

There are many varieties of lentils, which come in different colors, shapes and sizes. The color of lentils range from yellow, red and green to brown and black. Most varieties of white, red and yellow lentils are sold after removing their seed coat (decorticated forms). You can buy lentils in different forms - with or without the seed coat, split ones, whole lentils, etc. It has also been observed that some beans are considered as lentils in some regions. For example, in some regions, uradbeans are called black lentils and are confused with true black lentils. The common varieties of lentils include, brown/Spanish pardina, French green/puy, green lentils, black/beluga lentils, yellow/tan lentils, richlea, laird, decorticated yellow lentils, eston green, petite golden, masoor with seed coat (brown color), masoor decorticated (red color), macachiados, etc.

Lentils Nutrition Facts

Lentils are rich in protein, with over 25% of lentils nutritional value being protein. This makes lentils the most popular and inexpensive source for protein, especially for those, who cannot afford meat and for vegetarians. Apart from proteins, lentils have essential amino acids, dietary fiber, folate, other vitamins and minerals. 200 grams of cooked lentils contain 18 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 138 grams of water. Calorie content in lentils is around 230 (for 200 grams of cooked lentils). The following table can give you detailed information about the lentils nutrition facts.

Vitamin

Value

Vitamin A

15.84 IU

Thiamine - B1

0.33 mg

Riboflavin - B2

0.14 mg

Niacin - B3

2.10 mg

Vitamin B6

0.35 mg

Vitamin C

2.97 mg

Vitamin E

1.16 mg

Folate

357.98 mcg

Vitamin K

3.37 mcg

Pantothenic acid

1.26 mg

 

Mineral

Value

Calcium

37.6 mg

Copper

0.50 mg

Iron

6.59 mg

Magnesium

71.28 mg

Manganese

0.98 mg

Molybdenum

148.50 mcg

Phosphorus

356.4 mg

Potassium

730.62 mg

Selenium

5.54 mcg

Sodium

3.96 mg

Zinc

2.51 mg


Now, you know the nutritional value of lentils, which offer various health benefits. Lentils, being a rich source of dietary fiber, is beneficial for lowering cholesterol. This fiber content also prevents the sudden hike in blood sugar levels after a meal. It is also good for preventing digestive disorders, like, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and constipation. Apart from lowering cholesterol, lentils are also good for the health of the heart, as it contains significant amounts of folate and magnesium, which inhibits the damages to the artery walls. The high levels of magnesium in lentils is also good for cardiovascular health, as it enhances the blood flow in the body. Lentils have good iron content, which is considered as an energy supplier. As it contains flavonoids, lentils are also good for preventing cancer, especially breast cancer. Lentils nutritional value or the nutrients in lentils are responsible for the various health benefits associated with it. So, you can relish the different lentil recipes, at the same time enjoy the health benefits of lentils too.

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