Lentils are the perfect slow-acting food, with an ideal mix of slow-digesting protein and complex carbohydrates. And since they cook quickly — no presoaking required — there’s little excuse not to use them in soups, salads, and main dishes even on weeknights. If you add them to rice dishes, you’ll be able to use less rice and significantly lower the GL of the dish.
Their secret weapon against blood sugar spikes is soluble fiber, and plenty of it. A cup of cooked lentils carries a whopping 16 grams of fiber, most of it the soluble type. Of course, soluble fiber is also the stuff that lowers cholesterol. It’s little wonder that lentils are a staple in the Mediterranean diet, famous for protecting the heart.
Lentils are also a good source of protein (18 grams per cup, cooked), which makes them wonderfully filling and weight-loss friendly.
One recent study found that women who included lentils or beans in their diets at least twice a week had a 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who ate them less than once a month. Lentils are also unusually rich in folacin, a B vitamin proven to lower blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked with an increased risk of heart disease and dementia. The fiber in lentils also helps keep you regular.
Glycemic Load: Very low
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