Lentils: a Balance of Flavor and Health

by Theresa on February 7, 2011

Lentils are legumes that probably originated in the Near East. This might explain their popularity in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East, and in the Indian subcontinent.

Lentils are high in proteins, iron, as well as fiber. Half a cup of cooked lentils contains about 25% of the average daily recommended fiber intake. Fibers are important for glucose control and can help with weight loss as well.

Our bodies absorb iron from animal products more easily than from plant sources. In order to maximize the
absorption of iron from lentils, complement the meal with a food rich in vitamin C (tomatoes, cabbage, orange,
strawberries, bell peppers). Choose the type of lentils based on the dish you want to cook. For instance, French freen lentils are ideal for salads, while red lentils are more suitable for soups because of the softer texture.

Lentil facts: because of their round shape lentils symbolize the cycle of life in some cultures.

Cultural tip: Dal is a traditional Indian lentil dish, flavorful and generally not spicy (source: Cultural Food Practices, Diabetes Care and Education Practice Group, 2010).

Check out some preparation tips and get a Zesty Lentil Salad recipe by reading the attached file here, compliments of our volunteer registered dietitian, Stefania Manetti.

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