Originally published August 6 2010
Lentils are the Ideal Superfood for Those on a Budget
by Paul Fassa
(NaturalNews) Though hardly used in Western diets, lentils are perfect for high nutritional yields on a budget. They are so high in protein and energy producing nutrients that a Canadian firm is working on putting a lentil sports energy bar together. Canadian studies on athletes proved they performed better with more endurance after eating lentil dishes than pasta.
Lentils are legumes, which along with their related Dal, have provided millions in India and Central Asia with high protein sources for centuries. Combining brown rice and lentils is perfect for vegetarians concerned about protein intake. Both foods bought as dry bulk are very inexpensive and can be stored for long periods before preparing. Lentils are a delicious, nutritious tight times survival food indeed.
But There's More to Lentils than High Protein
Dr. Perricone, an Oprah regular, ranks beans and lentils number four on his super food list, behind Acai, Allium foods such as garlic and onions, and Barley. This is not the same super food genre as chlorella and spirulina of course. These are actual edibles.
Lentils lack only two of the 20 available amino acids that combine for protein. And if the lentils are sprouted, those two missing amino acids appear, offering the complete package of 20 amino acids. Naturally high in fiber and low in fat, lentils aid digestion and elimination with a low glycemic index that stabilizes blood sugar and helps prevent diabetes.
An international study covering 25 years compared high dairy and meat eaters to legume consumers. The results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirm that diets high in fiber foods, such as lentils, help prevent heart disease by as much as 82%!
And there's more to it than just fiber. The extremely rich folate content in lentils is a natural source of high folic acid or B6, without synthetic ingredients or processing involved. So even if Big Pharma and the FDA succeed with removing folic acid or B6 supplements from health food store shelves, you'll be able to get yours from (gasp) food!
Lentils also contain the master mineral magnesium, which combined with B6 offers even more protection against heart disease. There is also a significant amount of B1 or thiamine in lentils. Other minerals in abundance are calcium, phosphorous, manganese, and iron.
Lentils contain a very high amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps combine the other amino acids to produce protein. It is also a precursor for serotonin and melatonin in the brain, both of which help you relax or sleep. Tryptophan also helps prevent depression.
Molybdenum is also very high in lentils. It is an essential trace element for virtually all life forms. It functions as a cofactor for a number of enzymes that catalyze important chemical reactions necessary for metabolizing food into energy.
Got the Idea? Now Let's Eat
Unlike other dry bulk beans that need to be soaked for hours before cooking, lentils are ready to cook as-is. But it's a good idea to sort them out on a flat pan to remove the few tiny pebbles that may come with the lentils. Cooking time is around 45 minutes with a low boil using a two to one ratio of water to lentils.
Lentil soups are easy to make. Or they can be eaten cold after cooking as part of a bean salad mix. An easy filling high protein high fiber main dish is lentils on brown rice, topped off with olive oil or an amino acid sauce.
Sources for more information:
Lentil nutrients article from World's Healthiest Foods
Dr. Perricone's No. 4 Superfood: Beans and Lentils
Boring lentils touted as athletes super food
About the authorPaul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com
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