Posted by: godshealingplants | March 14, 2021

LENTILS FOR YOUR HEALTH

HISTORY

Lentils are believed to have originated in central Asia, having been consumed for many thousands of years. They are one of the first foods to have ever been cultivated. Lentil seeds dating back 6000 years have been found at archeological sites in the Middle East.

Lentils were mentioned in the Bible and there are two accounts that many remember. First, when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a stew of lentils (Genesis 25:33-34) and then it tells us to take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself in Ezekiel 4:9.

Lentils have been traditionally been eaten with barley and wheat, three biblical food ingredients that originated in the same regions and spread throughout Africa and Europe. Before the 1st century AD, they were introduced into India, a country whose traditional cuisine still bestows high regard for the spiced lentil dish known as dal.

ABOUT

Lentils are legumes, seeds of a plant whose botanical name is Lens ensculenta. They grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds.

Lentils are classified according to whether they are large or small in size with dozens of varieties of each being cultivated. While the most common types in the United States are either green or brown, lentils are also available in black, yellow, red and orange colors. They are sold whole or split into halves.

The different types offer varying consistencies with the brown and green ones better retaining their shape after cooking, while the others generally become soft and mushy. While the flavor differs slightly among the varieties, they generally feature a nutty flavor.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

Lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum and folate. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, phosphorus and manganese. Additionally they are a good source of iron, protein, vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium and vitamin B6.

Lentils contain the highest amount of protein originating from any plant. The amount of protein found in them is up to 35%, which is comparable to red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Raw lentils contain approximately 15-25 grams per 100 grams of carbohydrates. 

They are a good source of dietary fiber and also have a low amount of calories. Other nutritious components found are molybdenum, folate, tryptophan, manganese, iron, phosphorus and copper. Lentils are also another source of phytochemicals and phenols and are a great source of B vitamins, including vitamin B7, also known as biotin.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Controls Diabetes – Dietary fiber filled food such as lentils help in controlling blood sugar levels and slows down the rate at which food is absorbed by the blood and thus maintains the sugar level constant.

Energy – Lentils are a great addition to your meals that will keep you feeling energized since they are full of slow burning complex carbohydrates, fiber, and iron.

Good Carbohydrates – Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.

Great Source of Plant Protein – Vegans and vegetarians use lentils as one of their sources to obtain the body’s need for protein, since one cup gives you 36% of your recommended daily protein intake.

Heart Health – It gets rid of bad cholesterol and contains folate and magnesium which are also proven to be helpful in aiding your heart.

High in fiber – Lentils are one of the most fiber-rich foods you can find, having high contents of both soluble and insoluble fiber. One cup of lentils provides you with 63% of your daily value of fiber. As lentils contain high levels of dietary fiber, they improve digestion if consumed regularly. They also help in easy bowel movements, resulting in decreased constipation.

Muscle Generation – Lentils, especially sprouted lentils, contain all the essential amino acids that are needed by our body for good muscle-building and smooth functioning of the body.

Weigh Loss – Lentils are low in calories, one cup of lentils contains only about 230 calories. So being able to get more than two-thirds of your daily fiber and one-third of your daily protein in only about 230 calories is pretty convenient!

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Lentils are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the lentils are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing lentils in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that the lentils are whole and not cracked.

Canned lentils can be found in some grocery stores and most natural foods markets. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned lentils and those you cook yourself. Normally canning lowers vegetables’ nutritional value since they are best lightly cooked for a short period of time, while their canning process requires a long cooking time at high temperatures.

However, the concern about buying canned lentils or any canned products is the potential for the can to include a liner made from bisphenol A/BPA, which is often referred to as an “endocrine disruptor” because of its ability to disrupt estrogen receptor activity, alter fertility, and increase risk of reproductive system-related cancers later in life.

Store lentils in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place will keep for up to 12 months. If you purchase lentils at different times, store them separately since they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times. Cooked lentils will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.

HOW TO PREPARE

Lentils can be prepared the day of serving since they do not need to be presoaked. Before washing lentils you should spread them out on a light colored plate or cooking surface to check for, and remove, small stones or debris.

After this process, place the lentils in a strainer, and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.

To boil lentils, use three cups of liquid for each cup of lentils. Lentils placed in already boiling water will be easier to digest than those that were brought to a boil with the water. When the water returns to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Green lentils usually take 30 minutes, while red ones require 20 minutes.

Cooking times can be slightly adjusted depending upon the final use. If you are going to be serving lentils in a salad or soup and desire a firmer texture, remove them from the stove top when they have achieved this consistency—typically 5-10 minutes earlier than their usual cooking time. If you are making dal or some preparation that requires a mushier consistency, achieving this texture may take an additional 10-15 minutes.

HOW TO ENJOY

Here are several ways to enjoy lentils:

Eggplant lentil casserole

Vegetarian lentil burger with cucumber, tomato and onions on a bed of lettuce

Home made delicious lentil soup with onions, carrots, celery and anything else you would like to add.

 Lentil tabbouleh salad with tomatoes. Season with your favorite herbs and spices.

 Lentil loaf with home made catchup

Indian Dal lentil soup with cayenne pepper and turmeric

And here is my favorite Vegan Lentil Kibbeh

I am attaching a fantastic recipe from Hilda’s Kitchen

https://hildaskitchenblog.com/recipe/kibbeh-recipe-vegan-lentil-patties

(Thank you Hilda)

 WARNING

Although lentils are good for your health and are the best alternative for meat, poultry, and fish, they also have a few disadvantages. 

  • They contain high concentrations of oxalate compounds which can be responsible for the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, individuals who have kidney stones should stay away from legumes and lentils. 
  • Consumption of high levels of protein has other side effects as well. On average, the amount of protein needed for our body stands at 0.8 grams per one kilogram of body weight or 0.15 ounces per one pound of weight. Excessive protein consumption can pressurize kidneys in flushing out those excess proteins in the body. In the long run, that elimination can damage overall kidney function. 
  • Formation of gas due to fermentation: After entering the digestive system, lentils start fermenting and subsequently release gas. Although lentils tend to cause bloating and gas, consuming soaked or sprouted lentils make it easy for your system to digest them. 

REFERENCES

  • Bazzano LA, He J, Odgen LG et al. Dietary intake of folate and risk of stroke in US men and women:NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Stroke 2002 May;33(5):1183-9. 2002.
  • Davies M, Ghosh A. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Prophylactic magnesium in myocardial infarction. Emerg Med J. 2001 Mar;18(2):119-20. 2001.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. 1986. PMID:15210.
  • Kharb S, Singh V. Magnesium deficiency potentiates free radical production associated with myocardial infarction. J Assoc Physicians India. 2000 May;48(5):484-5. 2000.
  • McIntosh M, Miller C. A diet containing food rich in soluble and insoluble fiber improves glycemic control and reduces hyperlipidemia among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Rev 2001 Feb;59(2):52-5. 2001.
  • Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, et al. Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Jul;15(6):507-15. 1999.
  • Sueda S, Fukuda H, Watanabe K, et al. Magnesium deficiency in patients with recent myocardial infarction and provoked coronary artery spasm. Jpn Circ J. 2001 Jul;65(7):643-8. 2001.
  • Touyz Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Mol Aspects Med 2003 Feb 6;24(1-3):107-36. 2003.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.

*******


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: