New research shows that lentils significantly lower blood sugar levels
08/11/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Researchers found another reason to eat more lentils. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that replacing rice, potatoes, and other starchy side dishes with lentils can significantly lower blood sugar levels.

The study, which was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada, looked at the blood sugar readings of 24 healthy adults after eating four different dishes: white rice only; half white rice and half large green lentils; half white rice and half small green lentils; and half white rice and half split red lentils.

Before the participants ate, the research team measured their blood sugar levels. The team measured the participants' blood sugar levels again two hours after they had their meals. The team did the same with white potatoes, using the same combination of lentils as with the rice.

The research team explained that the legumes were combined together with the starches in order to have a better observation of how people tend to eat them. The results were similar for each of the three types of lentils.

The results of the study revealed that replacing half a serving of rice with lentils led to a 20 percent decline in blood sugar level. Meanwhile, substituting half a serving of potatoes with lentils resulted in a 35 percent reduction in blood sugar.

Lentils are a nutrient-dense food that can slow down digestion and help regulate sugars in the bloodstream. A slower digestion means that there will be no spike in blood sugar levels. Thus, eating more lentils can lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.


More reasons to eat lentils

Aside from the fact that lentils are inexpensive and versatile, they are rich in fiber and are packed with complex carbohydrates. Furthermore, lentils are not only beneficial to the regulation of blood sugar levels. The following are six more reasons to incorporate lentils into your diet:

  1. Lentils lower cholesterol levels – Lentils do not only lower blood sugar levels, but also blood cholesterol levels. This is because lentils contain high amounts of soluble fiber that keep the arteries clean. (Related: Eating lentils regularly could prevent the need for several medications: They nourish blood vessels and improve blood flow, pressure, circulation.)
  2. Lentils prevent heart disease – Because lentils lower blood cholesterol levels, the risk of heart disease and stroke is also reduced. Studies revealed that consumption of foods rich in fiber like lentils reduces the risk of heart disease because of their folate and magnesium content. Folate reduces homocysteine levels, which is a primary risk factor for heart disease. On the other hand, magnesium enhances blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Moreover, low levels of magnesium have been directly linked to heart disease.
  3. Lentils aid in digestion – As mentioned above, lentils contain insoluble fiber, which is also beneficial to digestive health. Lentils help prevent constipation and other digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
  4. Lentils are a good source of protein – Lentils are a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. In fact, protein makes up 26 percent of lentil's calories.
  5. Lentils help in weight loss – Even though lentils are nutrient-dense, they are actually low in calories and virtually do not contain fat.
  6. Lentils increase energy – Because of the fiber and complex carbohydrates that lentils contain, steady, slow-burning energy is also increased upon consumption. In addition, lentils are a good source of iron, which distributes oxygen throughout the body and is essential to energy production and metabolism. A cup of cooked lentils only contains around 230 calories, yet it will still make you feel full and satisfied.

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