When human beings first started enjoying lentils, we hadn’t yet invented pottery, money, metal tools, or the alphabet. Stonehenge was a hot new tourist attraction, or alien landing site, or whatever Stonehenge was intended to be.
When we started to settle down, instead of hunting and gathering, lentils were one of the first crops we cultivated. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re tasty, they keep forever, and they’re relatively easy to grow.
And while our neolithic ancestors may not have been aware of lentils’ nutritional breakdown, or even what nutrition was, they knew when the food they ate made them feel ready for prehistoric action. It’s easy to assume that lentils passed the “feel-good” test.
For one thing, lentils are packed with protein, which gave our ancestors strong muscles for working the fields and fending off marauders and wild animals. Lentils have more protein than any other legume, with the exception of soybeans and hemp seed. Nearly a third of their calories come from protein.
Lentils also contain a variety of essential amino acids, including lysine, which is crucial for building muscles and healing injuries, and isoleucine, which helps the body regulate hemoglobin production and enhances energy levels and endurance.
For the 95% of Americans who don’t get enough dietary fiber, lentils are an ideal dietary addition. They have plenty of the stuff, which is just the ticket for digestive health. Fiber also slows the body’s absorption of sugars, so it’s great for those with blood sugar disorders.
Studies have shown that lentils can also help you lose weight, because in addition to being rich in protein and fiber, they’re also a very filling yet low-calorie snack. If all of that wasn’t enough to send to running to the store for lentils, they’re also great for your heart. They’re rich in magnesium and folate, which help to lower heart disease risk factors and improve blood flow.
Potassium, tryptophan, iron, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, potassium; lentils have it all. Best of all, they’re cheap, easy to prepare, and very versatile. You can use them to add zest and heartiness to a salad, make soup out of them, or throw them in the rice cooker for a quick, convenient snack.
Or if you don’t feel like cooking, head down to Laughing Planet and try out our new Lebanese Delight burrito. This savory vegan powerhouse features lemon-spiced lentils, grilled veggies, brown rice, cucumber salad, and our delicious tahini garlic sauce.
[Photo Credit: en.wikipedia]