6 Amazing Health Benefits of Red Lentils
With the increasing awareness of the benefits of plant based diet, various previously ignored ingredients have come to the limelight now. Lentils are one such entity which has been around since ages. We have always been told to finish our bowl of dal so that we get our dose of proteins. It could be urad dal (black lentil), masoor dal (red lentil), toor dal (yellow lentil) etc. But did you know that apart from being rich in proteins, lentils have a host of other health benefits as well?
Among these lentils, red lentil or masoor dal is one of the most widely used lentils in India owing to its ease of use. It is highly nutritious and flavourful thus making it an ideal choice for healthy everyday cooking.
This low calories and high protein superfood is also a great alternative to refined flour which has zero nutrients. Hence companies like Naturally Yours have developed nutritious gluten free pasta made of red lentils. So that, even when you are enjoying a delicious bowl of pasta, you do not compromise on the health factor.
Nutritional facts of red lentil:
- Excellent source of plant based protein: As previously mentioned, red lentils are a good source of proteins. 1 bowl (about 50g) of cooked red lentil contains 12 g of protein which basically translates to 30% of your recommended daily protein intake. Thus making it an awesome source of plant based protein for vegans and vegetarians.
- Good source of fiber : Red lentils, are a very good source of fiber. 1 cup of cooked red lentil contains 15g of fiber which translates to about 45% of your recommended daily fiber intake.
- High in essential minerals: Red lentils are a good source of Iron and magnesium
- Low in calories : Red lentils are perfect for those watching their calorie intake. 1 bowl of cooked dal contains only 168 calories.
- Rich in vitamins : Red lentils serve as a good source of of vitamins especially folate which is a type of B vitamin.
Below are 6 health benefits of red lentil that will convince you to start including them in your diet:
- Boosts heart health: Being rich in fibre, magnesium and folate; red lentils help to support a healthy heart. Magnesium improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Folate helps to prevent damage to artery walls thereby reducing the risk of heart problems. The fibre content in red lentils help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in the body.
- Helps in weight management: Red lentils help in effective weight management since they have a low calorific value apart from being rich in fibre and protein. Due to these two nutrients, we tend to feel fuller faster and for a longer period of time thus avoiding the urge to binge on unhealthy snacks in between meals. It also helps us to avoid overeating and eventually helps us to prevent piling on unnecessary weight.
- Supports healthy pregnancy : It is beneficial to include red lentils in the diet of pregnant women. This is because, red lentil is a good source of folate, which is highly essential for foetal brain development and to prevent birth defects.
- Helps to build immunity : The abundance of essential vitamins, antioxidants and minerals in red lentils helps to build the body’s immune Antioxidants also help in destroying free radicals and minimise damage to cells and tissues, thus serving as an anti-ageing agent that promotes healthy skin.
- Helps to stabilise blood sugar levels: Red lentils have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre. The combination of these two factors ensures prevention of sudden blood sugar spikes. Thus supporting stable blood sugar levels for diabetics.
- Boosts energy : Red lentil provides slow burning complex carbohydrates that take longer to break down and provide morelasting energy in the body . Apart from this, red lentils is a good source of iron which plays a major role in transportation of oxygen in the blood and energy production. Since Iron deficiency is one of the major causes for tiredness and fatigue, red lentils would make a good addition to the diet especially for menstruating/pregnant women, children and adolescents who are at more risk for iron deficiency.
Now that you know why red lentils are considered as a nutritional powerhouse, here is a simple recipe for masoor dal which is both delicious as well as a comfort food for me.
½ cup red lentils (masoor dal)
1 onion – chopped
1 tomato – chopped
1-2 green chilli – finely chopped
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 inch ginger – finely chopped
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp garam masala (optional)
1 Tbsp ghee
1 ½ cup water
- Wash masoor dal and add water, chopped onion, tomatoes and green chillies in it.
- Pressure cook for 3 whistles and simmer the flame for 10 minutes so that the dal is well cooked and soft.
- Heat ghee in a pan. Add mustard, cumin, garlic and ginger.
- Saute till the garlic turns golden. Then add turmeric powder and garam masala (optional). Mix well for 10 seconds and turn off the flame. Then pour it into the cooked dal.
- Add salt as required and serve hot with plain rice or chapathi.
In conclusion, red lentils have a lot to offer so do include them in your diet and get a major nutritional boost