One Redditor is trumpeting a Washington Post report noting the health benefits of lentils, a legume that is on the table for only 8% of Americans each day. That’s far less than the amount eaten around the world.
Experts are saying that Americans are missing out on a sustainable substitute for meat that packs more protein punch than steak. The edible seeds “have sustained empires” in the past, according to the Post.
Now, they can be a game changer for better health for people and the planet.
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What are lentils?
These legumes grow in pods around the world, with common types being brown, green, red, and black. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, without the cholesterol and fat load that comes with red meats, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“Lentils have been around for ages, but it’s taken a while for us to realize how powerful they are for our bodies,” dietitian Elyse Homan said on the Cleveland Clinic’s website. “They aren’t just a cheap alternative to meat anymore. They can be the foundation for a variety of meals and make a real difference to your health.”
Are they good for you?
Lentil champions are touting the seeds as a food of the future that can provide an alternative to lab-grown meats and bean-based burgers.
A half-cup of cooked lentils has about 140 calories, a half-gram of fat, and plenty of protein and fiber. Health experts at the Cleveland Clinic said that lentils protect against disease, lower blood pressure, and boost energy, among other perks.
Brown lentils are inexpensive and stay firm, making them a good filler in veggie burgers, the Cleveland Clinic notes. Most online reviews attribute a nutty, earthy flavor to the legume. They can be spiced up with sauces and other ingredients, prepared as a meat substitute, and even work in a chocolate brownie. A 1-pound bag can be found online for less than $2.
What are we waiting for?
The Post reports that the rest of the world has been enjoying lentils for millennia, noting that about 6 million tons are grown globally each year.
Lentil newbies don’t have much of a learning curve. The legumes can be boiled in about 5 to 20 minutes. An easy way to start introducing lentils to the menu is to include them in salads, soups, and dips.
“Lentils are so easy, cheap, quick, healthy, and tasty,” a Redditor commented.
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