Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family 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, they are as widely consumed in Europe and North America.
Red lentils are perfect for making soups and for recipes from the Indian subcontinent (did anyone say Daal?). But they are not only delicious, they also pack a punch when it comes to nutrition and fibre, making them particularly suitable for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
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 (4):
- Calories: 230
- Carbs: 39.9 grams
- Protein: 17.9 grams
- Fat: 0.8 grams
- Fiber: 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