Lentils have become a popular staple lately. Owing to their greater nutritional and low caloric content, lentils are attributed to greater health benefits. They are a versatile and inexpensive form of food that is rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Recently, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition reveals that lentils can help people with high levels of blood sugar. The researchers at the University of Guelph, Canada have found that replacing rice, potatoes, and starchy dishes with lentils can significantly lower blood sugar levels.
The research’s team looked at the blood sugar readings of 24 healthy adults after eating four different dishes,
- White rice only
- Half white rice and half large green lentils
- Half white rice and half small green lentils
- Half white rice and half split red lentils
Before the course of the research started and the participants consumed the dishes, the research team measured their blood sugar levels. During the study, the blood sugar levels of the participants were measured after every two hours of their meals. The same was done with white potatoes, using the same combination of lentils as with the rice. The research team employed different types of lentils combined with the starches in order to have a better observation of how people tend to eat them. The results observed were similar for each of the three types of lentils used.
The results of the study revealed that lentils, when taken in place of a half serving of rice, could potentially decrease the blood sugar level by 20%. Meanwhile, substituting half a serving of potatoes with lentils led to a 35 percent reduction in blood sugar.
Lentils are reported to be densed with nutrients and can work wonders for your health. They slow down the process of digestion ensuring a healthful regulation of sugars in the bloodstream. Thus, lentils can potentially lower the risk of Type-II diabetes. In addition, lentils are a good source of iron.
Lentils can lower the level of cholesterol in the body. They are rich in soluble fiber content that keeps the arteries clean consequently, reducing the risks of heart diseases and strokes. Furthermore, the folate and magnesium content of the lentils adds to the heart health also. Folate reduces the levels of homocysteine that works as a primary risk factor for heart issues. Magnesium enhances the flow of blood throughout the body thereby facilitating each and every cell with oxygen and nutrients.
The soluble fiber present in the lentils promotes digestive health and prevents various digestive problems including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulitis etc. They are a great source of proteins; in fact, proteins make up the 26 percent of lentil’s calories. Being low in calories and free of fat (virtually), lentils are a great food for people struggling with their overweight. A cup of cooked lentils contains 230 calories only, yet it will still make you feel full and satisfied. The fibers and complex carbohydrates present in the lentils impart a steady, slow-burning energy to our body that is necessary for a stable metabolism.