How to Reap the Amazing Benefits of Lentils

By Ted

2793-lentils-in-diet.jpgLentils, where have you been hiding all my life?

Over the last six months, I’ve discovered how awesome lentils are and have begun including them as a big part of my healthy eating lifestyle.

They taste great, are very nutritious, and extremely versatile. If you aren’t a lentil eater, here are some reasons you might want to be.

Lentils Nutrition

There are several different types of lentils available, but the most common are brown lentils. The varieties just vary slightly nutritionally and it’s fun to experiment with the different types.

Brown Lentils

  • Serving size: 1/4 cup dry
  • Calories: 170
  • Carbs: 29 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 15 grams
  • GI Index: 21

Lentils also have some impressive micronutrient amounts including; folate, choline, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and are rich in potassium with 731mg. They are also high in beta-sitosterol which is a plant sterol noted for it’s ability to reduce bad cholesterol and inflammation.

Lentils are a great source of protein, but the protein isn’t complete. However, if you eat lentils with a nutritious grain like brown rice, the meal then contains all the amino acids needed to build tissues within the human body. The high fiber content of lentils also makes them a winner with even more fiber than oatmeal.

Diet Ideas

My favorite way to eat lentils is by making a simple, but tasty, Indian curry with them. Here’s the recipe. Also, lentils can be added to most soups and salads for added flavor and texture.

This lentil and roasted beet salad recipe is also great, but a little more time consuming to make. You could also add some lentils to marinara sauce for great vegetarian spaghetti or for use in other pasta dishes.

The possibilities are only limited by your creativity, but one thing that you’ll find is that lentils are not only healthy, but cheap. I can make a big pot of lentil curry and long grain brown rice for about 7 dollars or less, which usually lasts for at least 8 meals and keeps well in the fridge.

If you’re a lentil eater, how do you incorporate them into your healthy diet?

9 Comments

  1. Zaid

    1/2 cup quinoa
    1/2 cup french lentils
    A bit of chopped fresh dill
    One cup of vegetable stock
    Salt and pepper
    Simmer for 15
    Leave it for 10
    Top with tahini and enjoy

    Reply
  2. Christy

    I throw organic lentils into spaghetti bolognese and also into a chilli con carne. I use them in salads with mixed lettuce, chopped tomato, cucumber and celery, plus tinned tuna and some low-fat fetta cubes. Fibre (in lentils, fruit and wholegrains) are so important to stay “regular” obviously, and they can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer as well.

    Reply
  3. Spectra

    You had to throw the high-fiber cereal in there, didn’t you? Fiber One makes me gag.

    Reply
  4. natalie

    I love lentils. Going to use them a lot in my detox!

    Reply
  5. Heather

    Moroccan Chicken & Lentils (Clean Eating) – but use less oil.

    Reply
  6. Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate

    I love what a nutrition powerhouse lentils are! Their high fiber content is particularly wonderful. Getting enough fiber each day is so important. Lentils, along with berries and high-fiber cereals are just a few of my favorite fiber-rich foods.

    Reply
  7. Spectra

    I braise them in the oven with chicken stock, a little bit of lean ham, carrots, celery, and onions. I add a little bit of marjoram, sea salt, and pepper and I get the most fantastic lentil stew. I make it a lot in the winter, actually.

    Reply
  8. C R

    Lentils really are a great addition to the diet. They reduce the risk of heart disease, and are a good source of protein and fiber. These tips are sure to be useful!

    Reply
  9. Melanie Thomassian R.D.

    I love lentils, too. My favorite recipe is a lentil curry, made with red split lentils. It’s quite similar to your recipe, but I also add ginger, turmeric, and tinned tomatoes.

    Reply