Want to up your game when it comes to clean eating? Include lentils in your meal plans and you can’t go wrong. These legumes are powerhouses of nutrition, full of flavor, economical and easy to prepare.
Humans have relied on lentils for good nutrition for thousands of years. In fact, 8,000-year-old seeds have been found on archeological digs in the Middle East.
Take a look at how lentils can help you eat hearty and healthy.
The Lowly Legume
Lentils are a type of small bean that grow in pods containing just one or two seeds. Depending on the type, they can be round, heart-shaped or oval, smaller than the tip of your finger.
The dried beans come in a variety of colors, including green, brown, a mix of green and brown, red, black, orange, gold and yellow. The green and brown are best at holding their shape after cooking. Lentils are sold either whole or split in half.
Your Heart Will Love You
The nutrients and fiber in lentils help to protect your heart. They are rich in folate and magnesium, both of which protect your arteries and veins. The magnesium also helps improve the flow of blood, carrying oxygen and needed nutrients throughout your body.
There is solid scientific proof connecting lentils and other beans with long-term benefits for the heart. In an extensive international study conducted over the course of a quarter of a century, researchers discovered that diets rich in legumes reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by an amazing 82%.
Lentils, the Energy Makers
Iron is essential if you want to increase and maintain your energy levels throughout a busy day. The healthy way to do this is by eating lots of lentils. They replenish iron levels without adding fat and calories like red meat, another good source of iron.
Women always need to worry about their iron levels. Pregnant and lactating women especially have need for substantially increased iron.
Lentils also stabilize your blood sugar, which gives you access to reliable, slow-burning energy throughout the day.
End the Blood Sugar Blues
Fiber in your diet does more than keep you full. It also balances blood sugar levels and provides for the release of steady amounts of energy, available to you all day long. Packed with soluble fiber, lentils are a valuable addition to your nutrition and energy stores.
This makes them an excellent choice if you have diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia, which require stable blood sugar levels. But even if you don’t suffer from these conditions, lentils are the go-to food for clean eating. When your blood sugar is steady, you experience fewer cravings, which makes it easier to stick to healthy foods and avoid sugary and salty choices.
Versatile, Easy, Inexpensive and Delicious
Lentils aren’t just good for you. They are also great tasting, quick to fix and adaptable to a variety of recipes, both hot and cold. Lentils work well in salads, soups, stews, dips, spreads, main dishes and sides.
With their high protein content, they work well as a meat substitute. Try replacing ground beef with lentils next time you make Bolognese sauce for your spaghetti.
They have a satisfying texture that even kids like. Their own earthy flavor easily combines and absorbs tastes from other foods in a recipe. They are quick to prepare, with no pre-soaking required. And pound for pound, lentils are one of the most inexpensive sources of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals you can buy.
Make healthy meal planning easier by making lentils a pantry staple. Help your heart, your energy and your blood sugar by eating lentils regularly. Frontier Soups makes this easy with our Lentil Soup 5-Pack.