Look what’s making a comeback to supercharge your health. A tiny superstar carb that’s popping up in everything from tacos to burgers, salads to stir fry. Lentils!
Health Benefits of Lentils
Not only do lentils make a tasty addition to a whole-food or plant-based diet, but they’re also nutritional powerhouses. Read on for some of the amazing health benefits of these tiny, tasty legumes.
High in fiber and essential to healthy digestion, fiber keeps your body functioning regularly. Depending on the variety of lentils you choose, you could be getting anywhere from 9g – 15g of fiber per serving—that’s up to half of your recommended daily dose!
A Great Source of Prebiotics
Just as necessary are prebiotics, prebiotics are indigestible ingredients that promote the growth of healthy microorganisms in your intestines. Think of them as fertilizer for your guts’ microbiome.
High in Manganese
Manganese is a trace mineral often listed on nutrition labels, but do you know what it can do?
Evidence also suggests that manganese is a powerful antioxidant. Manganese is part of the antioxidant enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), helping reduce your overall risk for disease. Just one cup of cooked lentils can provide up to 49% of your daily manganese intake.
Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy
Whether you’ve been, are, or plan to be pregnant, you probably know that folate—called folic acid in its supplement form—is essential to preventing congenital disabilities.
It’s so important that the CDC recommends that all women, regardless of age, get 400mcg per day. Making sure that you get enough folate before and during pregnancy can guard your soon-to-be little one against Neural Tube Defects like:
- Spina bifida
3 Modern, Fresh Lentil Dishes to Try
Knowing all the benefits to your health, how can we prepare them to be pleasing to the palate too? The lentil, an ancient, edible seed that’s part of the legume family, has been used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisine for thousands of years.
Here are a few modern, fresh recipes sure to make you a believer:
Wilted Kale and Lentil Salad
This bright, colorful, vegan recipe from BudgetBytes is “everything you need in one bowl” and a delight to eat.
- Leafy greens
- Hearty, complex carbs
- Protein-rich legumes
Loaded Sweet Potatoes
This recipe from Bon Appetit is, hands down, my all-time favorite. A warm, savory, vegan meal that is perfect on its own or as a side dish for the meat lover. The recipe calls for black lentils, but you can substitute any variety.
Tip: black lentils are high in iron, which can combat fatigue.
Moroccan Lentil Stew
Moroccan Lentil Stew from Cooking Made Healthy is the perfect vegan soup for a cold night. The warm Moroccan spices are sure to keep you toasty, and, with all that fiber, the lentils will keep you full. These tiny lentils pack a mighty punch for overall health and your taste buds. Create your superfood dish today!