Lean Superfoods

Date Posted:24 July 2012 

Get Lean with Lentils
Protein packed lentils are a lean superfood that provides energy and power for a number of hours after eating. This week we have a recipe for you - Spicy Lentil Casserole. This tasty recipe is a great way to introduce lentils into your diet or to add variety. Lentils are often used as a cheap way to bulk out foods and add fibre to your diet and are delicious when cooked the right way.
 
Health Benefits of Lentils
Lentils are a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family and also a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all that lentils have to offer. They also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B vitamins, and protein - all this with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up - and not out!
 
Lentils - A Fibre All-Star
Lentils, like other beans, are rich in dietary fibre, both the soluble and insoluble type. Soluble fibre forms a gel like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fibre not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
 
Love Your Heart - Eating Lentils = 82% less risk
In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years.
 
Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that legumes were associated with a whopping 82% reduction in risk!
 
In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fibre helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help to balance your blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow burning energy.
 
Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. One group ate the standard American Diabetic Diet, which contains 24 grams of fiber/day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day.
 
Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both plasma glucose (blood sugar) and insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar get into cells). The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL levels (Very Low Density Lipoprotein the most dangerous form of cholesterol) by 12.5%.
 
All these health benefits contained in a tasty filling recipe! Sound too good to be true? Definitely not. Try our Spicy Lentil Casserole and send us your results. If you have a lentil dish you would like to share then email and we will post it on facebook for others to share too.