Lentils are affordable, versatile, gluten-free, and easy to use. The Latin word for “lens” is how they got their name, since they are small and shaped like the lens of your eye. The lentil is a legume or bean and has been cultivated for centuries and considered a staple food in India, Asia, and Middle Eastern countries.
Many of us buy lentils and then forget they are in the pantry. And no, it is not recommended to eat them raw! These legumes contain lectin, a protein that is toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if eaten raw. Cooking breaks down the lectin and helps it become digestible. These are eight health benefits of lentils.
8. High Nutrient Value
Lentils have no fat, but are high in fiber, protein and only 25 grams of complex carbs. Their high nutrient content includes calcium, magnesium, folate, many B vitamins, vitamin K, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and selenium. This is in a serving size of ½ cup of cooked lentils.
7. Improves Heart Health
Lentils are excellent for lowering blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol due to their calcium, magnesium, and fiber. A 2019 study in the Journal American Heart Association found that people who eat more plant foods can lower their chances of dying from cardiovascular disease.