If you are thinking Red lentils are lentils related to Red Bull, you are not completely wrong! This small red colored lentil, helps boost body energy supply by providing you with slow burning carbohydrates and also by replenishing your iron supplies. Other benefits of red lentils or Masoor includes its antioxidant properties which makes it anti aging food, high fiber content useful in weight loss and diabetes, ability to aid digestion, regulate cholesterol in body, increase immunity, reduce risk of cancer and inflammatory diseases and its benefits for skin, eyes and bones. Of all the different types of lentils, the red lentil, also known as Masoor dal happens to be the tastiest and sweetest type. They also don’t take much time to cook.
Nutritional profile of Masoor dal
Although small in size, red lentils are very powerful source of nutrients. Not only are red lentils low in calories (1 cup serving = 230 calories), they are also extremely nutritious, providing you with a vast array of nutrients that promote good health and also help you maintain a healthy weight. Each serving of lentils provides you with considerable amounts of nutrients and so they are an ideal food group to be included in a healthy and balanced diet. Like all other lentils, red lentils are also a rich source of protein and form an essential food item for all, especially in the diet of vegetarians and vegans. In fact, they provide almost the same amount of protein that you obtain from eating meat, but with lower levels of fat and cholesterol. Masoor dal is a fiber rich food, containing some amount of soluble fiber and a significant amount of insoluble fiber. Red lentils also contain high amounts of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, B vitamins and folate. Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper and selenium can also be found in abundance in this lentil. In addition to all these nutrients, red lentils contain good amounts of antioxidants like anthocyanin that help in destroying free radicals.
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Benefits of Red Lentils
Packed with protein, fiber, iron, folate, and other important nutrients, lentils are the storehouse of nutrition offering you numerous health promoting benefits and longevity as well.
Red lentils, one of the best anti-aging foods
Not only are red lentils tasty and versatile, they are also rich in health improving and anti-aging properties. They are a rich source of protein, fiber and other nutrients that boost your health and encourage your body to function at its maximum. The high amounts of antioxidants in these lentils destroy the free radicals and minimize the cell damage caused by them. The inclusion of red lentils in your diet at least 2 or 3 times a week can keep you healthy and young.
Masoor dal helps you lose weight
Masoor dal is an ideal food addition to your weight loss diet because it is low in fat and contains high amounts of fiber. Eating fiber rich foods controls your appetite by giving you the feeling of fullness which lasts for a long period of time. This curbs your hunger, as a result of which you are less likely to overeat.
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Red lentils and skin benefits
When it comes to beauty of your skin, red lentils can do wonders. It helps in cleansing your skin by removing impurities. Applying face masks made with red lentils can leave your skin looking young, supple and glowing. The red lentil face pack is very effective in tightening the pores of your skin and exfoliating it. It not only helps in cleansing your skin, but also helps in making it soft and smooth. Masoor dal also reduces excess oil on your skin hence preventing acne. It increases the elasticity of your skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.
Red lentils protect your heart
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are two main factors that play a role in increasing your risks of heart diseases. The high amounts of fiber in the red lentils help in lowering cholesterol while the potassium helps in lowering high blood pressure. Studies have revealed that a diet rich in lentils can also help in improving the blood flow and prevent heart diseases. High levels of the amino acid homocysteine in your blood stream can damage the walls of your artery leading to an increased risk of heart problems. It has been found that the homocysteine levels increases with low levels of folate in your body. By eating red lentils, your body gets a good supply of folate, which helps in reducing the homocysteine levels. Masoor dal also provides important minerals like magnesium that helps in boosting the health of your heart.
Red lentils are good for diabetics
The consumption of foods with low glycemic index values has been found to be very effective in managing blood sugar levels. Red lentils have low glycemic index, which makes them an ideal food for people with diabetes. They are rich in fiber, which is not digested and hence does not cause sudden spikes in your blood glucose levels. According to The American Diabetic Association, people with diabetes should include lentils in their diet many times a week. Although lentils are healthy, diabetics should take care to portion control the amount they eat, in order to manage their blood sugar effectively. Since red lentils come under the category of carbohydrates, too much consumption can cause changes in the blood glucose levels.
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Red lentils improve digestive health
The high amount of fiber in red lentils helps in improving digestion and also in detoxifying your body by eliminating toxic wastes from your system. While soluble fiber in red lentils helps in removing cholesterol, the insoluble fiber helps in regularizing your bowel movements and in preventing constipation and other digestive disorders like diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Red lentils reduce cancer risk
All lentils, including red lentils have been associated with lowering your risks of cancer. According to scientists, the anti-cancer properties of masoor dal can be attributed to the presence of high amounts of folate and fiber in it. Other important components in lentils that provide anti-cancer effects include selenium, zinc and antioxidants. Regular consumption of red lentils may help in preventing different types of cancers like bowel, breast, colon and lung cancer.
Red lentils boost your immune power
Red lentils are an excellent source of iron, zinc and vitamin B6, all of which are associated with improving your immune system. These nutrients help in increasing the number of white blood cells, which in turn helps in defending your body against the attack of disease causing germs and pathogens. They also contain phytonutrients called isoflavones that have powerful antioxidant properties and help in boosting your immunity.
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Red lentils reduce inflammation
Red lentils are rich in fiber, folate, B vitamins and protein, which help in reducing inflammation. Studies indicate that incorporating red lentils as part of your diet can help in reducing inflammation and in preventing many diseases associated with inflammation, including heart disease and cancer.
Red lentils for healthy eyes
Certain vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, copper and zinc play important roles in maintaining the health of your eyes. Red lentils are a good source of all these nutrients and so its addition to your diet can keep your eyes healthy and also in preventing eye disorders like cataract and macular degeneration.
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Red lentils for strong bones and teeth
Red lentils are an excellent source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium that are important for the growth and development of strong and healthy bones and teeth.
Side effects of red lentils
Although red lentils are extremely healthy for you, too much of its consumption may lead to conditions like flatulence, kidney distress, amino acid side effects, potassium toxicity and also allergic reactions in some people.
The health benefits of lentils have been recognized since ancient times and hence they constitute one of the oldest and most commonly consumed food items. Not only are red lentils very easy to prepare, they also cook in no time and don’t need to be soaked for long hours like other beans. They are highly versatile, inexpensive and effortless to cook. All these qualities in combination with their high nutrient content make them a healthy addition to your diet.Image Credits: Wikimedia - User:Mytinytank