lentils are edible seeds from the legume family.
They’re well known for their lens shape and sold with or without their outer husks intact.
Though they’re a common food staple in Asian and North African cuisines, the greatest production of lentils nowadays is in Canada (1Trusted Source).
This article tells you everything about lentils, their nutrition, benefits and how to cook them.
Different Types of Lentils
Lentils are often categorized by their colour, which can range from yellow and red to green, brown or black (1Trusted Source).
Here are some of the most common lentil types:
Brown: These are the most widely eaten type. They have an earthy flavour, hold their shape well during cooking and are great in stews.
Puy: These come from the French region Le Puy. They’re similar in colour but about one-third of the size of green lentils and have a peppery taste.
Green: These can vary in size and are usually a cheaper alternative to Puy lentils in recipes.
Yellow and red: These lentils are split and cook quickly. They’re great for making dal and have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavour.
Beluga: These are tiny black lentils that look almost like caviar. They make a great base for warm salads.
Each lentil type has its own unique composition of antioxidants and phytochemicals (2Trusted Source).
Lentils are often overlooked, even though they’re an inexpensive way of getting a wide range of nutrients.
For example, they’re packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Lentils are made up of over 25% protein, which makes them an excellent meat alternative. They’re also a great source of iron, a mineral that is sometimes lacking in vegetarian diets (1Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Though different types of lentils may vary slightly in their nutrient contents, one cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils generally provides about :
Carbs: 39.9 grams
Protein: 17.9 grams
Fat: 0.8 grams
Fibre: 15.6 grams
Thiamine: 22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Niacin: 10% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 18% of the RDI
Folate: 90% of the RDI
Pantothenic acid: 13% of the RDI
Iron: 37% of the RDI
Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
Phosphorous: 36% of the RDI
Potassium: 21% of the RDI
Zinc: 17% of the RDI
Copper: 25% of the RDI
Manganese: 49% of the RDI
Lentils are high in fibre, which supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Eating lentils can increase your stool weight and improve your overall gut function (5Trusted Source).
Furthermore, lentils contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, many of which protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.