Lentils belong to the legume family and are edible seeds and pulses found in the form of two halves covered in a husk. The husk is known to be rich in dietary fiber. Popular lentils consumed around the world include brown lentils, black lentils, red lentils, yellow lentils, yellow split peas, black-eyed peas, mung beans, soybeans, kidney beans, macachiados lentils, and French green lentils. Lentils are rich in protein, carbohydrates, various essential amino acids, and a lot of minerals, which make them beneficial for the human body.
Amazing Health Benefits That Lentils Offer
1. Supports Heart Health
The dietary fiber in lentils reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases, which are considered to be extremely dangerous for the health. The magnesium and folate contents in lentils are also beneficial for the heart. Magnesium benefits the cardiovascular system by relaxing and relieving veins and arteries and by preventing the occurrence of heart attacks. Folate helps in lowering and balancing the levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the bloodstream, which is known to cause damage to the artery walls and as a result, cause heart diseases.
2. Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels
The soluble fiber in lentils lowers the levels of insulin and plasma glucose, resulting in the regulation of sugar in the bloodstream. Also, the low glycemic index in lentils helps in slowing down their digestion, and thus, the blood sugar levels do not go high.
3. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Lentils help the body take enough copper content, resulting in the lowering of the bad cholesterol. By consuming lentils, one can experience 5% less generation of LDL cholesterol, which has been found to be harmful for the body. Vitamin B3 found in lentils has also proved to be helpful in stabilizing cholesterol levels.
4. Helps Prevent Cancer
The high plant protein content in lentils makes them capable of counteracting cancer. This protein (lectin) content can also help in regulating the growth of cancer as well. Some lentils like soybeans have been found to have a positive effect on cancer cells. The antioxidant nature of lentils also make them effective in preventing cancer cells from growing.
5. Helps In Digestion And Weight Loss
The high fiber content in lentils makes them effective in bowel movement, and regular consumption of lentils has been proved to be helpful during constipation. It also effectively removes toxins from the body and ferments the healthy bacteria that is essentially needed by the digestive tract.
The intake of lentils ensures that you remain full for a longer time due to its protein and fiber content. This results in weight loss as you cut down on carbs in this process. It is also seen that lentils boost metabolism and contains Vitamin B3, which is essential for digestion and the boosting of the nervous system.
6. Enhances Energy
Lentils are found to be high in iron and copper contents, which are essential in the production of energy. Iron helps copper produce more red blood cells, while copper transfers the energy from carbohydrates to the cells. This ensures that the fiber in lentils burn the energy slowly and keeps you full and fueled for a longer time.
7. Tones Down Muscles
Lentils contain a wide variety of amino acids, which ensure that it is high in protein content. Our muscles need a constant supply of protein for their growth and repair, and lentils, with their high protein content, satisfy this need. This, in turn, results in proper muscle building and its functioning.
8. Improves Women’s Health
The high iron content in lentils is beneficial for women’s overall health, as it takes care of their menstrual health. It is noted that 200g of lentils can satisfy 36% of one’s daily iron requirement. For pregnant and breastfeeding women, the iron and protein content in lentils are very helpful. Also, the folate or Vitamin B content in lentils prevent any birth defect that could be a result of the lack of folic acid. Folate is known to stimulate the formation of red blood cells and maintain the levels of homocysteine, which is very essential for pregnant women.
Harmful Side Effects Of Too Much Lentil Consumption
1. Kidney Diseases
The over-consumption of lentils can prevent the kidney from eliminating harmful toxins from the body, which can lead to various kidney diseases. Kidney stones could be the result of too much lentil consumption as the protein content in lentils is very high. So, it is advisable to consume lentils in a moderate amount.
2. Formation Of Gas
Lentils, if not consumed in moderation, can cause gas. Since the dietary fiber in lentils makes it slow to digest, consumption of a high amount of lentils can cause them to ferment in the digestive system and release gas. This formation of gas in the abdomen can result in a lot of discomfort. This is why, lentils, even if taken in moderation, must be chewed properly.
Lentils are essentially very useful for humans to stay healthy. However, anything that is consumed in excess can lead to harmful results. It is absolutely the same with lentils. If consumed in moderation, it can be extremely helpful in many ways, while if it is consumed in high amounts, it can lead to discomfort, pain, and various kidney and digestive tract-related diseases. While lentils can be a boon for pregnant women, heart and diabetes patients, and muscle-builders, it can be a bane for kidney disease patients.