Together with peas or beans, lentils belong to the family of legumes. They fascinate not only researchers by their chemical composition, but also amaze the cooks calling these plants the second bread or even comparing to meat. Lentils like warm and dry climate, so mostly they are grown in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Greece, Egypt and Chile. Because of variety and growing location, lentils can be red, green, yellow or brown. In addition, the more ripe lentils are, the darker they become.

For their nutritional properties, lentils can be easily compared to beans or peas and could be easily described as the “second meat” because they contain high levels of proteins (23.5 percent). They also have 1.4 percent of fat and about 50 percent of carbohydrates (mainly starch). Lentils are a good vegetable source of iron and can help in preventing iron deficiency.

Proteins and carbohydrates are the main nutritious materials of lentils, so it’s even recommended that you get 67 percent of caloric intake from lentils each day! In addition, lentils are rich in folic acid, vitamins B1 and B6, which are necessary for our nervous system, strengthen the immune system and stimulate the production of hemoglobin. The content of such minerals as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and etc. is also very good. Unlike other legumes, lentils do not cause flatulence – the expulsion of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process. The recent studies have shown that the regular use of lentils may reduce the risk of cancer and they have been also selected as one of the five healthiest foods.

Remember, if you’re pregnant or lactating, your needs for iron increase, so start using lentils. They are also needed for growing children and people who have increased needs for iron.


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