If you eat lentils regularly, you know how good for you they are-and, of course, how tasty they can be. But if you don’t, chances are you’re simply not familiar with the oft-overlooked crop, Here’s a primer on a food that should be a staple of your diet.
Dating back to the Stone Age, lentil was among the first crops humans cultivated. These days, India and Turkey grow most of the world’s lentils. Saskatchewan is responsible for 80 per cent of Canada’s crop, much of which is exported to South American and European countries. Lentils come in a variety of colours, ranging from red to green to brown to black. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, though, red and green are the most popular varieties.
But why should you eat lentils? To begin with, they complement an array of foods-soups, stews, salads and even curries-so they can be served in enough dishes to suit almost any palate. Lentil soup is particularly popular; it’s easy to prepare and well-suited to vegetarians, as lentils can replace many of the nutrients found in meat.
And they’re loaded with nutrients. Lentils are high in protein and low in calories and fat. According to the Weider Nutrition Group, eating lentils can help regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and protect you from heart disease, thanks to their soluble and insoluble fibres.
Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen through your body, helping you feel normal every day, and vitamin B, which can reduce cholesterol.