11 Interesting Benefits Of Lentils

The health benefits of lentils include improved digestion, a healthy heartdiabetes control, cancermanagement, weight loss, prevention of anemia, and better electrolytic activity due to potassium. They are a good source of protein and are great for pregnant women. They aid in the prevention of atherosclerosis and in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

What are Lentils?

Lentils are edible pulses or seeds that belong to the legume family. These mostly consist of two halves covered in a husk. Both the seeds are lens-shaped, which is probably why they are named Lens culinaris in Latin. They are also one of the oldest known sources of food, dating back more than 9,000 years.

Lentils can be consumed with or without the husk. Prior to the invention of milling machines, they were eaten with the husk. The husk contains the highest amount of dietary fiber. After the milling process was invented, the husk or skin was removed and the dietary fiber in lentils disappeared.

The popular kinds of lentils include black lentils, red lentils, brown lentils, mung bean, yellow split peas, yellow lentils, macachiados lentils, French green lentils, black-eyed pea, kidney beans, soya beans, and many more varieties. Each country has its own group, which is more or less similar and provides the same benefits.

Lentils with a high protein content are considered an inexpensive source of protein. They are a rich source of essential amino acids like isoleucine and lysine. They are also a good source of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. [1]

Lentils are consumed much more often in Asian countries, particularly India. India has the largest number of vegetarians and lentils can be a substitute for meat in supplying the required protein. One very good way to have lentils is after they have sprouted because they contain methionine and cysteine. These two amino acids are very significant in muscle-building and strengthening of our body. Methionine is an essential amino acid that is supplied through the food, and cysteine is a non-essential amino acid that can then be synthesized.

9 different types of lentils on a white background

Nutritional Value of Lentils

Lentils contain the highest amount of protein originating from any plant. The amount of protein found in them is up to 35%, which is comparable to red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. As per the USDA, raw lentils contain carbohydrates (15-25 grams per 100 grams). [2]They are a good source of dietary fiber and also have a low amount of calories. Other nutritious components found are molybdenum, folate, tryptophan, manganeseironphosphoruscoppervitamin B1, and potassium.

Lentils are also another source of phytochemicals and phenols. Both of these organic chemicals are known to provide health benefits, but the mechanism behind their work is yet to be determined. Often, lentils and meat are compared for their effectiveness and many people vote for meat as the best source of protein. It is true that lentils do not contain all the amino acids, but they do have less fat content when compared with meat.

Health Benefits of Lentils

Lentils, cultivated ever since the advent of early agriculture, have been a part of our diet for quite long now. They provide multiple health benefits, including the following:

Muscle Generation

Our organs and muscles need a constant supply of protein for repair and growth of the body. Lentils, especially sprouted lentils, contain all the essential amino acids that are needed by our body for good muscle-building and smooth functioning of the body.

Control Diabetes

A comparative study published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that in the various categories of foods, dietary fiber was found to be high in case of the legume family. [3] Lentils, along with beans and peas, belong to the legume family. Dietary fiber filled food such as lentils help in controlling blood sugar levels. Dietary fiber also slows down the rate at which food is absorbed by the blood and thus maintains the sugar level constantly.

Improve Digestion

As lentils contain high levels of dietary fiber, they improve digestion if consumed regularly. They also help in easy bowel movements, resulting in decreased constipation. Although lentils tend to cause bloating and gas, consuming soaked or sprouted lentils make it easy for you to digest them.

Benefits of Chickpeas

Benefits of Chickpeas

Chickpeas have exploded in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. They’re the essential ingredient in beloved foods like hummus, falafel, roasted chickpeas and vegetarian curries.

Meanwhile, global demand for plant-based foods is on the rise. And as people try to find ways to eat less meat, they’re seeking out plant-based proteins that are all natural, nutrient-dense and gluten-free. The mighty chickpea checks all three of those boxes.

We know you probably have some pressing questions (Is hummus good for me, and will chickpeas give me gas?). Since I wrote a book about pulses, the umbrella term for beans, lentils, dry peas and chickpeas, I know what’s good when it comes to garbanzos. Read on to find out everything there is to know about chickpeas and ways to add some simple, healthy chickpea recipes to your arsenal.

What are chickpeas?

Chickpeas are a type of pulse, a unique category within the legume family that are low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Chickpeas are actually the most widely consumed pulse in the world. They’re now grown in more than 50 countries, but were originally cultivated in the Middle East and Mediterranean (which is why many people associate them with hummus).

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy chickpeas. Chickpea flour can be used in baking or blended into smoothies. Whole chickpeas can be oven-roasted and enjoyed as a snack or added to salads, and they’re the base for Indian chana masala. Pureed chickpeas can be used to thicken soups or sauces. Meanwhile, mashed chickpeas can serve as an egg replacement in a veggie breakfast scramble, or form the base of plant-based chickpea patties.

Chickpea patties along with roasted chickpeas form the base of this hearty Mediterranean bowl.

These days, you can find a wide variety of chickpea-based desserts and treats, from chocolate-covered chickpeas and chickpea-powered protein bars to chickpea cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Mousse and meringue can also be made from aquafaba, the fluid found in canned chickpeas or the liquid left over when the dry seeds are soaked and boiled.

Is there protein in chickpeas?

One cup of canned, drained, rinsed chickpeas provides 10 grams of protein. That’s a decent amount, but it’s worth noting that this portion also supplies 34 grams of carbohydrate, with about 10 grams from dietary fiber.

When relying on chickpeas as a protein source, keep the carbs in mind. If you’re pairing them with another carb-rich food, such as quinoa, sweet potato or fruit, watch the portions to prevent carb overload.

What is the nutritional value of chickpeas?

In addition to their protein, carb and fiber content, a cup of chickpeas provides 210 caloriesand less than four grams of fat. But when it comes to chickpeas’ nutrition, they’re a true powerhouse food.

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, people who regularly consume chickpeas and/or hummus have higher intakes of several key nutrients. These include fiber, vitamins A, E and C, folate, magnesium, potassium and iron.

Chickpeas are also chock-full of antioxidants. While the most common type consumed in the U.S., known as kabuli, are cream-colored, there are multiple types and hues of chickpeas. Smaller and darker desi chickpeas pack a greater antioxidant punch. You’ll find them in Indian markets or specialty-food stores.

Aquafaba, the fluid found in canned chickpeas, is a perfect substitute for eggs and egg whites in cooking and baking.

Are chickpeas good for weight loss?

Yes! Eating more chickpeas is a simple and effective weight-loss strategy. According to government data, chickpea/hummus consumers were 53 percent less likely to be obese. They also had lower BMIs and waist measurements compared to those who did not consume chickpeas or hummus.

One Australian study, published in Appetite, asked 42 volunteers to consume their usual diets, plus about three-and-a-half ounces of chickpeas daily for 12 weeks, and then return to their typical diets for a month.

The participants’ food diaries revealed that they ate less from every food group, particularly grains, during the three-month chickpea intervention. They also reported feeling more satisfied during the chickpea experiment. And in the four weeks after the study ended, their intake of processed snacks spiked.

Are chickpeas good for my health?

In addition to their ability to support weight loss, chickpeas improve gut health and help protect against heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

In one study, blood sugar levels were significantly lower 45 minutes after volunteers ate hummus with white bread, as compared to white bread alone. This suggests that hummus may be able to partially offset glucose spikes triggered by eating high glycemic index foods.

In animal research, scientists found a 65 percent reduction in precancerous lesions in rats whose diets contained 10 percent chickpea flour. Another concluded that after eight months, rats fed a high-fat diet plus chickpeas had less belly fat and improved lipid profiles as compared to rodents that ate a high-fat diet alone.

Chickpeas help promote weight loss, improve gut health and protect against heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Will chickpeas give me gas?

You may experience more gas when you first up your chickpea intake, but your body will adapt. One study from Arizona State University actually measured this using beans. Over eight weeks, 40 volunteers added either a half-cup of canned carrots daily or a half cup of beans. Within the first week, about 35 percent of the bean eaters reported an increase in flatulence. (Note: 65 percent did not!) By week two, only 19 percent reported excess gas. And the number continued to drop weekly — down to 3 percent by week eight, the same response as the carrot eaters pegged as the control group. Because chickpeas are in the same family as beans, you can expect a similar GI adjustment. If you purchase canned chickpeas, rinsing them thoroughly can also help curb bloating.

How do you cook chickpeas?

Buying canned chickpeas is A-OK, but if you want to buy them dried and cook them yourself, it’s easy. For a quick soak use three cups of cold water for each cup of chickpeas, boil for two minutes, remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour, then drain. After soaking, combine three cups water for every cup of chickpeas, bring to a quick boil, and then simmer for one-and-a-half to two hours.

Is hummus good for you?

The ingredients in premade hummus can vary widely. Some are simply made with chickpeas combined with olive oil, tahini and seasonings like garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Others, however, can be made with lower-quality oils (like soybean oil) and artificial preservatives.

When shopping for hummus, read the ingredient list first. It should read like a recipe you could have made in your own kitchen. One of my favorite brands is Hope. Its original version is made with chickpeas, water, tahini, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, spices, citric acid (to preserve freshness), garlic powder and cayenne.

clean-ingredient hummus is a healthy snack when paired with raw veggies. It can also be used as a creamy salad dressing, a thickener for soup, a mayo alternative or topping for cooked potatoes or spaghetti squash.

Chickpea pasta is gluten-free and most often higher in protein, fiber and nutrients than wheat- or semolina-based pasta.

What’s the deal with chickpea pasta?

Chickpea pasta is made with chickpea flour instead of semolina, or wheat-based flour. The formulations vary, however, so be sure to check the ingredients. Some brands bolster the protein content by adding pea protein derived from yellow split peas (another type of pulse), and others add white rice flour.

The main benefits of chickpea pasta are that it’s gluten-free and generally higher in protein, fiber and nutrients as compared to its traditional counterpart.

Are garbanzo beans chickpeas?

The terms garbanzo beans and chickpeas are used interchangeably. Garbanzo, the Spanish word for chickpea, is thought to originally come from the Basque word for chickpea, “garbantzu,” meaning dry seed.

Try some of our best chickpea recipes!

In addition to being affordable and readily available, chickpeas are also extremely versatile to cook with. If you’re new to chickpeas, try this easy recipe for oven-roasting them. As you get more experienced, test out different types of seasonings to vary the flavors. You can make savory versions or sweet, such as cinnamon or cocoa-ginger chickpeas.

For breakfast or a snack, give your avocado toast a nutritional boost by adding homemade hummus. For a filling and energizing lunch you can pack for work, toss together this chickpea salad. And if you like it spicy, check out this warm, hearty and healthy chickpea curry.

For DIY hummus that’s as beautiful as it is delicious, whip up this beet-based hummus recipe. Or if you’re more into a smoky hummus with a sizzling kick, try this chipotle version.

Did we answer every question you had about garbanzo beans, chickpeas or whatever you like to call them?

20 Delicious Ways to Eat Black Beans

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’ll almost never find our kitchens without a can or two of black beans stocked in the pantry. This versatile ingredient can be used in so many different ways. From soups and chilis to enchiladas and salads, the possibilities are seemingly endless. We chose our 20 favorite black bean recipes to get you started with something new.

1. Spicy Salmon Black Bean Salad

Hot smoked salmon is a salty, meaty counterpart to earthy black beans. This is a salad that can be tossed together in minutes and is equally satisfying for dinner as it is for lunch.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

2. Easy Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

These lightened-up enchiladas are ones you can feel good about serving your family. They’re filled with black beans and roasted veggies and topped with a creamy cilantro-lime yogurt sauce.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. 10-Minute Black Bean Tacos

Dinner in 10 minutes sounds like just the kind of thing we can get behind on a busy weeknight. These rely on canned beans and a few store-bought condiments to come together fast.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. Cuban Black Bean Soup

To make this soup the right way, use dried black beans and let them soak overnight. You’ll also want to give it ample time to cook on the stove so, really, it makes a better weekend recipe. Finally, don’t skimp on the vinegar — it’s what gives the soup that little extra kick.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Roasted Squash, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas

Start with pre-cut butternut squash to make these veggie-filled enchiladas much faster and easier to bring to the dinner table. You can also swap in store-bought enchilada sauce if you’d rather not bother with making your own.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

6. Loaded Black Bean Nachos

A couple of cans of black beans add protein to this sheet pan full of ooey, gooey nachos. Top everything with a couple dollops of Greek yogurt and you can feel good about eating chips for dinner.

(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

7. Chilled Black Bean, Feta & Cucumber Salad

This is one of those salads that actually gets better with more time spent in the fridge to let the dressing work its magic. We recommend making a big batch over the weekend and enjoying it for lunches all week.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

8. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

These pan-fried tacos are made with soft tortillas and are somewhere between a taco and a quesadilla. You can fill them with anything you want; they are a great way to use up a small amount of leftovers.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

9. Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili

While the options for vegetarian chili recipes are nearly endless, we’re partial to this one with sweet potatoes (or you could substitute butternut squash) and quinoa. Just remember — you might have to add a bit more water at the end since the quinoa will soak it up.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

10. Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow cooker enchiladas are a bit magical. They might not be the prettiest meal on the block, but they are one of the tastiest. Plus, they are easily adaptable, so you can basically clean out your fridge and end up with a mouth-watering meal.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

11. Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup

What really makes these veggie burgers stand out is the jazzed-up ketchup, which is sweet and smoky and dangerously addictive.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

12. Kale and Black Bean Tacos with Chimichurri

No, chimichurri wasn’t originally intended for vegan tacos, but the garlicky sauce adds a whole new dimension to these tasty tacos. Of course, the big chunks of avocado and sautéed kale don’t hurt either.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

13. Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos

Somewhere between a burrito and an enchilada, these avocado and black bean delights reside. You can play around with additional fillings, like sautéed peppers or greens; make sure you taste-test the filling to get the spices to your liking.

(Image credit: Joanna Miller)

14. Vegetarian Black Bean Espresso Chili

It can be hard to get that rich, meaty taste in a vegetarian chili, but the addition of instant espresso powder adds a depth that most vegetarian chilis lack. Try making this version, or adding a little espresso powder to your own favorite chili recipe, to get the full effect.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

15. Southwestern Pizza with Black Beans and Corn

One of our favorite unexpected black bean recipes is this Southwestern pizza. In place of traditional red sauce is a black bean mash. The whole pizza gets topped with corn, peppers, and a healthy dollop of avocado cream.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

16. Smoky Sweet Potato & Black Bean Casserole

Smoked paprika, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and smoked mozzarella all join forces here to create a comforting casserole that has serious depth of flavor.

(Image credit: Chungah Rhee)

17. Sheet Pan Sweet Potato & Black Bean Hash

This hearty hash is perfect for feeding a weekend brunch crowd. Everything cooks on one sheet pan, which means you can spend time drinking mimosas with your guests instead of standing over the stove.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

18. Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili

A bit of unsweetened cocoa power lends deep, rich flavor to this meatless chili. Let it cook slowly while you’re at work and you’ll be rewarded with a comforting meal as soon as you walk through the door.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

19. Black Beans and Plantains Breakfast Bowl

Make a big batch of these Cuban-style black beans ahead of time and when morning comes all you’ll need to do is fry up a plantain and some eggs while you reheat them.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

20. Freezer-Friendly Roasted Vegetable Burritos with Black Beans and Rice

These hearty burritos are a miracle meal when you discover them tucked away in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner. They’ll keep well for up to 3 months, so it might be worth doubling the recipe if you have a large family.

Organic Rice, Grains & Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on The Kitchn