The Real Health Benefits Of Lentils

Although they have long been an essential ingredient in stews and soups, lentils have become increasingly popular in recents years and are now used to add fiber and protein to chips, salads, and pasta. But what exactly are lentils and how can they benefit your health? Lentils are tiny lens-shaped seeds from the legume family that have been cultivated and harvested for thousands of years (via Healthline).

Originating from Asia and North Africa, lentils are highly nutritious and come in variety of different colors, including yellow, red, green, brown, and black. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, lentils are a great source of protein and fiber and are a relatively inexpensive way of getting more iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamin B6 in your everyday diet. To cook lentils, boil them in an uncovered pot for 15 to 20 minutes and add a pinch of salt. Unlike other legumes, you do not need to soak them beforehand.

How can lentils improve your health?

In addition to their versatility, lentils contain a number of important health benefits. First and foremost, lentils can promote heart health (via Verywell Fit). Studies have shown that eating legumes can lower your risk of heart disease and contribute to your consumption of plant-based foods. Lentils are also rich in polyphenols, which contain anti-inflammatory properties that can offer protection against hypertension, coronary artery disease, and cancer.

Lentils can also improve your gut health (via Mindbodygreen). That's because lentils are a great source of gut-friendly fiber. One cup of lentils contains around 15 grams of fiber, which is more than half of your daily recommended fiber intake. Sufficient fiber intake can help keep you regular, improve digestion, and boost your gut microbiome. In addition, the fiber in lentils can help lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber can lower the absorption of cholesterol in the gut by binding to bile salts before they exit your body.