Posted on Oct 14, 2018, 10 p.m.
Health is influenced heavily by diet: eating healthy foods increases the likelihood to be and stay healthy as unhealthy foods are associated with being more prone to sickness and diseases; many studies have shown how food affects one’s health.
Lentils have been shown by 2 separate studies in replacement of starchy carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes to help lower blood sugar levels, and fight cancer such as researchers from the University of Guelph showing that eating legumes instead of rice or potatoes can reduce blood sugar levels by over 20%.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition involving 24 healthy adults that were fed 4 dishes: white rice only; half white rice with half large green lentils; lahe white rice with half small green lentils; and half white rice with half split red lentils; then repeating the process with potatoes and lentils showed the substitution of half a serving of rice white lentils led to up to 20% decreases in blood sugar; and replacing potatoes with lentils resulted with a 35% decrease. The reductions were explained to be result of lentils slowing digestion and release of starchy foods helping to prevent blood sugar spikes which is helping in those with diabetes.
Along with lowering the risks for diabetes lentils also help to reduce risks for cancer according to another study published in the International Journal of Cancer which examined over 90,000 pre-menopausal women and found consumption of legumes at least twice a week cut the risks of breast cancer by 24%.
A Norwegian study showed that those that consume lentils on a regular basis experience 37% lower risk of cancers of the upper digestive tract, and nearly 50% decreased risk of colon cancer.
Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family that are low in calories and great sources of iron, zinc, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. Consumption of lentils on a regular basis may help to prevent need for certain medications as they nourish blood vessels, and improve blood pressure, flow, and circulation.
Lentils come in many types such as beluga lentils which are small and black that make good bases for warm salads. Brown lentils are the most common and are good in stews with an earthy flavor. Green lentils which vary in size and shape. Puy lentils are smaller than green lentils and have a peppery taste.
Lentils are easy to cook unlike other legumes as they do not need to be soaked before cooking, however they still need to be rinsed before hand to remove impurities. Most can be boiled in a pot of water with a dash of salt, then simmered uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Some lentils such as orange lentils will split and only take 5 minutes to cook. Once cooked most lentils can last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator if stored properly.
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