I’m betting most of us have the same goals for our meals when we cook at home and are trying to lose weight. We aim for easy to make, nutritious and inexpensive meals that leave us feeling good and full. So after really getting into the nitty gritty of dieting, like keeping track of my calories and macros (protein, carbs and greens – see rule of thirds in my beginners Guide) I looked into the health benefits of eating lentil pulse.
After some research, I pulled the most important information for you and organized it into a nice infographic. The result is a list of 9 amazing health benefits of eating lentil pulse. I will now put the infographic which is free for you to share (there is a nice embed code button at the bottom) so long as you agree to link back to this article or my main website. I will go on to explain all the benefits with some additional info after the infographic.
What Is a Lentil Pulse
A pulse is just any edible dried seed pertaining to the legume family which you would need to boil prior to eating. Lentils fall in the pulse category along with other of its buddies like dry beans, dry peas and chickpeas. Not all legumes, such as fresh beans and peas, are considered pulses because they are not a dry seed. Another characteristic needed to be considered a pulse is to contain little to no fat content so all peanuts and soybeans are also discriminated in this category since they contain a much higher fat content than lentils.
Lentils fall under the pulse category because as mentioned above, they are a dry seed that needs to be boiled prior to eating and have virtually no fat content. The most common lentil is the brown lentil. If you are in a grocery store and pick up a bag that just says “lentils” with no other description, it is most likely that you are buying brown lentils.
9 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Lentil Pulse
Helps Lower Cholesterol
Lentil pulse contains high levels of natural dietary soluble fiber. This type of fiber helps lower cholesterol by binding to cholesterol particles in your digestive system. Your body then flushes these particles out. This results in lower cholesterol in your blood stream and helps your heart stay healthy.
Helps Your Heart Stay Healthy
As mentioned above, lentils contain a high amount of fiber which studies have shown help reduce your risk of heart disease. Lentils also contain great amounts of folate and magnesium which together help your heart stay healthy.
Folate helps by lowering homocysteine levels in your cardiovascular system. High levels of this amino acid are directly linked to early development of heart disease. You typically get homocysteine from consuming meat. The amount of folate content in 1 cup of cooked lentils provides 90% of the daily suggested amount. This vitamin is responsible for helping your body build new cells.
Magnesium is needed in the body to improve the delivery of fresh blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Eating lentil pulse habitually will prevent low levels of magnesium which will also help prevent heart disease and keep your heart happy.
Keeps Your Digestive System Healthy
The high content of fiber in lentil pulse can be broken down into two categories: soluble and insoluble. I have already explained how soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol in the first paragraph of the 9 amazing health benefits of eating lentil pulse.
Insoluble fiber isn’t broken down by the body so it isn’t absorbed into the blood stream. This allows your digestive system to add bulk to waste and helps keep you regular, prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar & Helps Control Diabetes
When your body is processing the lentils you had for lunch, soluble fiber also helps trap carbohydrates during the digestion period. This causes your digestive system to slow down so that your body can absorb nutrients and sugars at a slower pace. The result? your blood sugar levels are stabilized and will not experience blood sugar “spikes” which are linked to many health issues, including diabetes.
Good Source of Protein
26% of the lentil’s calories are attributed to protein which can be considered a great source for vegetarians and vegans. Protein helps our body stay full longer and allows us to have the energy needed to get through long days.
Boost Your Energy Levels
Due to lentil pulse’s complex carbohydrates and fiber, these legumes help your body increase your energy levels by providing steady slow-burning energy. Lentils are also a great source for iron which helps distribute oxygen throughout your body.
Keeps Your Weight Loss Goals on Track
As I mentioned in the very opening paragraph, finding that perfect balance of delicious, nutritious and inexpensive meals is often our goal. Lentils are one of my top choices for a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. On top of everything you already know about lentils, they are still very low in calories. A 1 cup serving of cooked lentil pulse is just 230 calories and that bowl will keep you feeling full longer than a bag of chips, which is about the same calorie amount.
Repair Your Muscles and Help Them Grow
Muscles break down anytime we use them: exercise, climbing stairs, walking, carrying a backpack and so on. We use and stress our muscles everyday without even knowing it. By providing a constant flow of protein, your body has an easier time repairing muscle and recovering. As stated above, 26% of its calories are attributed to protein which are the third highest in the legume family.
What Are Some More Ways to Incorporate Lentils in my Diet?
You’re not just limited to soups and stews, but if that’s what you’re looking for then you can try my version of Delicious, Healthy Meal Prep Lentil Soup. There are a lot of fresh ideas on how to eat more lentils. Here are just a few examples to help get you started:
- Add cooked and strained lentil pulse to fresh salads.
- Create purees to add to stews to help thicken the broth.
- Great substitute or addition to ground meat for sauces, meat loaf, lasagna etc.
- You can puree them, add spices and use them as hamburger patties.
- Incorporate them into bread with other oats to pack more protein.