Lentils are legumes that come in different colors like red, yellow and green. They are similar to beans, peanuts and peas which also belong to the legume family. Lentil are used quite often in vegetarian dishes made in India. While beans normally take a long soaking time before cooking, dry legumes require very little soaking time, thereby speeding up the time taken for cooking.
Lentils are available fresh as well as in canned form. The nutritional value of canned Lentil is the same as fresh legumes. A single serving of approximately 198 grams requires about one cup of legumes. One serving of cooked legumes contains 230 calories. Legumes are most often purchased dry. When a cup of dried legumes is cooked, it would make about two and half cups of cooked legumes. legumes are quite filling but are low in calories. Therefore, they are an excellent option for a weight loss diet.
A single serving of legumes has just a gram of fat, but contains 18 grams of protein. One cup of Lentils also contains 40 grams of carbohydrates, 4 milligrams of sodium and 16 grams of fiber. There are two types of fibers in lentils – soluble and insoluble. Lentils are low in salt and have no cholesterol.
Molybdenum which is a trace mineral is found in abundance in lentils. About 198% of the recommended daily amount of molybdenum is present in Lentil which amounts to 148 mcg. Lentil are also a good source of manganese and iron. They contain 49% of the recommended daily intake of manganese, and 37% of the daily recommended intake of iron. They also contain more than 10% of the daily requirement of copper, potassium, zinc and phosphorus. Lentil also contain selenium and calcium. 90% of the daily recommended value of vitamin folate amounting to 358 mcg is contained in one cup of lentils. A variety of vitamins like choline, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E are contained in lentils.
The fiber content in Lentil helps prevent constipation. It also lowers cholesterol and helps in maintaining blood sugar. Just like the other legumes, lentils are healthy for the heart and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease as well as prostate cancer.
Purines are compounds contained in lentils which care be harmful to people who have kidney stones or gout. However, studies seem to suggest that purines from fish and meat sources are more likely to cause problems than those from vegetable sources like lentils.