Green Lentils – Nutritional Profile
Green lentils have the third highest levels of protein after soya and hemp and more than any other pulses, supplying almost 30% of their calories as protein.
They provide a plentiful supply of fibre, particularly soluble fibre which provides effective handling of cholesterol and bile acids in the intestine . Green lentils contain a higher concentration of dietary fibre than other types on more commonly available lentils.
One single 100g serving of lentils will give 31g of dietary fibre and 60g carbohydrate with only a trace of fat at 3g. Essential nutrients present include 451mg phosphorus, 122mg magnesium, 4.78mg zinc, 479 mcg folate, 7mg iron, 56mg calcium, 122mg magnesium, 900 mg potassium and 5mg zinc.
Lentils are also make a good source of B group vitamins and trace minerals such as copper, phosphorous and potassium.
Green Lentils – Health Benefits
Lentils are an excellent source of soluble dietary fibre (as opposed to insoluble) which converts into a gel like substance in the colon that traps LDL cholesterol stopping it passing into the blood stream thus inhibiting the occurrence of arteriosclerosis. HDL is not trapped by the gel so it passes into the bloodstream where it can be of benefit for flexible, healthy arteries.
Studies of 16,000 men with all types of diet have shown an 82% reduction in occurrence of death from heart disease. The study, across 7 countries showed the reduction when lentils were present in the diet.
A similar study showed a reduction of coronary heart disease by 12% and cardio-vascular problems reduced by 11% in 10,000 Americans who ate 5g fibre daily.
Magnesium is responsible for maintaining healthy blood vessels . Adequate magnesium levels mean that minor blood vessels are protected from incidental electrical activity in the body. Blood vessels remain relaxed and resulting in lower blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetes and other blood sugar disorders can also benefit from a diet rich in lentils. Carbohydrate is released more slowly so the body does not need to flood the system wiuth insulin to deal with the surge in sugars that would accompany eating refined carbohydrate rich foods. The Glycemic Index is a measure of the rate at which carbohydrate is released into the bloodstream and foods such as lentils which are low GI are the most beneficial.
A further American study compared two groups of people, one group ate the standard American Diabetic diet including 24g fibre daily and a second the same diet with an extra 26g fibre. The first group had significantly lower levels of blood sugar along with a 7% less of LDL (good) cholesterol in the blood.
Green lentils have high levels of iron which is critical in responding to conditions such as anaemia or when trauma has seen blood significant blood loss.
Calcium popularly known to keep teeth and bones healthy but it is less widely known to play a part in the regulation of healthy muscles and nerves. Phosphorus, also present, works with calcium to help managing bone density. It also has its own function as an energy related component in all cells.
Green Lentils – Product History
Green lentils are one a range of lentils, usually identified by their colours and including brown, green, yellow, black and red. They have been an important part of our diet for hundreds of years and have been linked with diet as far back as Neolithic times. Their spread as a global foodstuff can be traced linked back to India and Pakistan.
Lentils are members of the legume family and grow in a single pod that usually contains one or two seeds. Green lentils, unlike red ones, are not sold their split form. They are also noted for their ability to hold shape whilst being cooked.
Lentil plants generally tolerate poor water availability which has led to their spread as a staple across large areas where water supply can be unreliable. The largest crops are produced in America and Canada with India being the third largest producer.