Ibn al-Qayyim described the benefits of lentils in his Prophetic Medicine, saying that eating whole lentils with their skin still intact was more beneficial than ground lentils, as they were lighter on the stomach and less harmful this way. He also said that the kernel of the lentil was slow to digest, and that lentils should not be mixed with sweet things.
Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned that the best kind of lentils were white and plump, and those that cook in a short time.
What Are lentils?
Lentils are legumes and grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds. There are many varieties of lentil, available in different colors, sizes and shapes, and are sold either whole or split in halves.
Lentils are a very good source of fiber, and are also rich in protein, folate, vitamin B1, and many essential minerals.
The high-fiber content of lentils helps prevent blood-sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal, and can therefore help to manage blood-sugar disorders. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as lentils, helps prevent heart disease.
Another study examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease in people from around the world, over a period of 25 years. Researchers found that legumes as part of a healthy, high-fiber diet were associated with a whopping 82% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease.
Boost energy Levels
Lentils can increase energy levels as they not only provide slow burning complex carbohydrates but can replenish iron levels. Lentils are not rich in fat and calories, like other iron-rich foods such as red meat, so are an excellent food to help boost iron levels. Iron in the body is especially important for women of child-bearing age and children.
Tips on Using Lentils
- Lentils should keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. After long storage, the color may fade slightly, and the lentils may become dryer and take longer to cook, but the taste should not be noticeably altered.
- Brown and green varieties of lentil are better at retaining their shape after cooking, whilst the other varieties generally become soft and mushy.
- Do not mix newly purchased lentils with lentils you have stored at home, as the lentils you have been storing will be dryer than the newer ones, and this will cause them to cook unevenly.
- Lentils cook much faster than dried beans and it is not necessary to soak them before cooking.
References for further reading
- Bazzano LA, He J, Odgen LG et al. Dietary intake of folate and risk of stroke in US men and women:NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Stroke 2002 May;33(5):1183-9 2002.
- Davies M, Ghosh A. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Prophylactic magnesium in myocardial infarction. Emerg Med J. 2001 Mar;18(2):119-20 2001.
- Kharb S, Singh V. Magnesium deficiency potentiates free radical production associated with myocardial infarction. J Assoc Physicians India. 2000 May;48(5):484-5 2000.
- McIntosh M, Miller C. A diet containing food rich in soluble and insoluble fiber improves glycemic control and reduces hyperlipidemia among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Rev 2001 Feb;59(2):52-5 2001.
- Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, et al. Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Jul;15(6):507-15 1999.