Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Lentil, a Nutritious Food for Health
Different kinds of lentils - © Marion Aparna (with permission)
Lentils deserve an important place in our daily diet.They are a rich source of essential nutrients which is beneficial for our health,growth and weight loss Lentil is a very nutritious aliment which must be included in our daily diet. It's easy to prepare and fast to cook. In this article you can discover and try a tasty recipe of Indian dhal or red lentil.

The Nutritional Properties of Lentils

A regular consumption of lentils have various advantages:
  1. It reduces risk of cardiovascular problems.
  2. Lentils contain antioxidants that belong mostly to the large family of flavonoids. They are mainly catechins and procyanidins. According to some observations, when lentil is soaked or cooked, the amount of catechins increases.
  3. Lentils are rich in fiber: boiled lentils are a good source with 4.5 grams of fiber per serving of 125 ml (1 / 2 cup).
  4. Soluble fiber contribute to cardiovascular disease prevention as it reduces the absorption of bile acids which helps to stabilize cholesterol levels in the blood .
  5. Lentil is an excellent source of phosphorus, manganese and copper. As a constituent of many enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for tissue reparation) in the body.
  6. Magnesium found in lentils helps in bone development and construction of proteins, prevention of muscle contraction, functioning of the immune system and improves dental health. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses.
  7. Lentil is an excellent source of folate which is involved in manufacturing all body cells, including red blood cells.
  8. An adequate intake of lentil is essential during periods of growth and development of the foetus because it helps in the production of new cells,.

Source of Potassium and Vitamins

Lentils are also a good source of potassium. In the body, potassium is used to balance the pH of the blood and stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach which helps in digestion process. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in the transmission of nerve impulses.
Lentil is a source of vitamin B1, B2 and B3. This vitamin is also known as riboflavin. Vitamin B1 plays a role in energy metabolism of all cells. It contributes to growth and tissue repair, production of hormones and red blood cell formation. Vitamin B3 is involved in many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to the production of energy from carbohydrates, lipids. It also collaborates in the training process of the DNA, allowing normal growth and development.
Lentil is also a natural source of vitamin B6. This vitamin, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes involved in the metabolism of protein and fatty acids and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. It manufactures red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. It also contributes to the smooth functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of some components of nerve cells and in modulating hormone receptors.
Lentil is also beneficial for those who want to lose weight. It is a leguminunous plant which contains virtually no fat. It is therefore very light. Lentil is full of complex carbohydrates which is quite filling and hence it prevents us from eating between meals. It also provides a great amount of vegetable proteins.

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