Lentils are a lens shaped pulse which are grown once in a year. It belongs to the legume family and its scientific name is Lens Culinaris. These are basically seeds of various colours like red, green, yellow and black. The seeds are produced in pods which grow on the plant and a pod usually contains two seeds. The plant can grow to a height of 16 inches.
Lentils are popular throughout the world. They are cooked in a variety of ways. The cooking time ranges between 10 to 40 minutes. In the subcontinent (India and Pakistan) they are cooked in form of a curry which is called “Daal” or served with rice in form of a local dish called “khicdi”. The Europeans serve it as a soup often with something like chicken or pork.
Lentils are also a great source of micronutrients. They are rich in minerals like iron, manganese and molybdenum and far exceed the minimum daily intake required. Lentils also contains other important elements like phosphorus, zinc, copper and potassium. There are also traces of selenium and calcium present. The important vitamins which lentils can add to your body are vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, K and vitamin E.
Benefits of Lentils Nutrition
For something which comes with such a high nutritional value, lentils have countless benefits. The best thing about lentils is that it is a wholesome diet and is quite filling so it is beneficial for people who want to lose weight. The calories taken will be only 230 and yet it is full of other important nutrients.
The lentils have a high fibre content of both soluble and insoluble types. The fibres help in transporting bile (which contains most of the cholesterol) out of the body. The insoluble fibres add bulk to the food and make traction of digestive muscles better. This helps in reducing the risk of constipation and other related digestive disorders.
Lentils play an important role in improving the health of the heart and people who eat lentils are less likely to suffer from a heart attack than those who do not eat lentils. Manganese relaxes the walls of arteries and eases the flow of blood. Vitamin folate helps reduce homocysteine in the blood which is an amino acid that can cause damage to artery walls.
Lentils should be an essential part of everyone’s diet as they are rich in minerals and vitamins and have a low calorie count –Lentils are a true Healthy food.