Lentils, like beans and peas, belong to the legume family. These pulses grow in pods and can be bulk bought canned or dried, depending on one’s budget and preference. They come in a variety of colours, each with their own individual characteristics, texture and taste and form the staple of many diets around the world. Additionally, lentils play a big role as one of the most wallet-friendly meat substitutes for vegans and vegetarians as they’re packed with healthy nutrients and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Read on for Top 5 Health Benefits of Dried & Canned Lentils!
1. Versatility of both Dried & Canned Lentils
Dried Lentils: Dried lentil can be daunting, especially if one is not used to cooking with precision. Opting for the dried variety allows you to get a deeper taste, soaking them in seasoned water or marinating them overnight for the best depth of flavour. When they cook in the seasoning, they absorb the aromas, leaving you in mouth-watering heaven!
Canned Lentils: Canned lentils are great if you lead a busy life and don’t have time to soak them for hours. As they’re pre-cooked you can just throw them into your favourite dish and they’re ready in minutes. The one thing to remember when purchasing the canned variety is to check what solution they’re canned in. Avoid salted water with a high sodium content and go for unsalted instead.
2. The Gym-Goers Best Friend
They may be small in size, but lentils punch way above their weight in terms of protein. This makes them the perfect meat substitute. 100g of cooked product has around 9g of protein. In comparison, 100g of ground beef hasn’t a huge amount more at 14g of protein. The protein found in lentils has other health benefits such as it’s not compromised by the lining of fat found in animal products. You get all the good, and none of the bad!
3. Fibre Magic
They are also high in fibre. This aids in the maintenance of healthy gut bacteria and promotes regular bowel movements. Having a healthy gut is beneficial to our immediate health and also has an impact on long term health, making sure our body functions smoothly and digests food efficiently for years to come.
4. Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
Although lentils are packed full of nutrients they are still fairly low in calories. One cup of cooked lentils contains only 230 calories, primarily protein and carbohydrates. Both are slow-burning and will help you feel satisfied for longer, meaning you will feel fuller and thus avoid unhealthy snacking. We all have physical weight goals and used successfully, lentils can assuredly help you get there!
5. Lots of Variety, Taste & Texture
Lentils come in all types of textures and flavours. Puy lentils are most commonly used as they keep a firm texture and have a mild, earthy flavour which you can spice up to your liking. Red and yellow lentils are more suited to soups and stews as they lose their integrity the longer they cook.
Perfect if you want a bowl of thick, hearty goodness on a cold night. Black lentils are a happy medium. What’s more, their colour means that they are filled with anthocyanin, an antioxidant which can be found in purple and blue foods. With all these types of lentils available, you’re bound to find something that works for you!