Healthy Living A to Z: L is for Lentils

Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

Lentils are legumes and come in varieties which cook to different consistencies. They are an ancient food, mentioned in the Bible and are naturally gluten free.

Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse but often overlooked. Seen as “poverty food,” in this case low cost means high nutrition. High in protein, soluble and insoluble fiber and low in fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories, they are also rich in folate, manganese, protein, iron, phosphorus and copper and are a complete protein. Evidence suggests lentils help lower cholesterol due to high fiber content and help control blood sugar. However, if you have gout, kidney stones or other conditions related to uric acid, talk to your doctor before eating lentils.

Lentils do not have to be soaked before cooking. With a mild flavor, they can slip into a dish unnoticed or be seasoned as desired. They may be used to thicken sauces, as an extender in meatloaf, as a one dish meal with veggies, tomatoes and onions, as veggie burger or loaf and of course in soup.

Some seasonings such as salt and vinegar may interfere with the cooking process.” No one wants crunchy lentils so season after cooking.

Spend some time getting to know lentils. They are a nice legume to have around.

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