A high source of protein

HOW do you feel when dhal is cooked at home for dinner? It’s great to hear that few families occasionally have their special dhal days, where family members indulge in a nice bowl of dhal with either rice or roti.

Even the latest cookbooks launched in Fiji by the Ministry of Health includes some great and simple dhal recipe that you might want to try out at home and it also highlights the nutritional value that lentils has.

Dhal or other lentils are found in abundance at the local market particularly the Suva market where it’s sold upstairs (Level 2) by vendors and you would be amazed at the different varieties these vendors have.

Today we read about some health benefits listed by www.organicfacts.net and its nutritional values.

The health benefits of lentils include a high protein content, improved digestion, a healthy heart, diabetes control, control of cancer, weight loss, a solution for anemia, and better electrolytic activity due to potassium. It is good for pregnant women, the prevention of atherosclerosis, and it helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Nutritional value of lentils

Lentils contain the highest amount of protein originating from any plant. The amount of protein found in lentils is up to 35 per cent, which is comparable to red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Lentils contain carbohydrates (15-25 grams per 100 grams).

They are a good source of dietary fiber and also have a low amount of calories. Other nutritious components found are molybdenum, folate, tryptophan, manganese, iron, phosphorous, copper, vitamin 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, as an ancient food source, has been known to mankind for a very long time. The cultivation of lentils is as old as early agriculture. It provides a lot of health benefits, which include the following:

Good for 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 study conducted by Anderson and Bridges showed that in the various categories of foods, dietary fiber was found to be high in case of the legume family. Lentils, along with beans and peas, belong to the legume family.

Dietary fiber filled food such as lentils helps in controlling blood sugar levels. Dietary fiber 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, it improves digestion if consumed regularly. It also helps in easy bowel movement, resulting in decreased constipation.

Heart health

Lentils, with their negligible amounts of fat, are an ideal source of protein without adding any extra fat to the body, thereby promoting a healthy heart. Lentils contain magnesium, which helps in relaxing cardiovascular muscles and help lower blood pressure.