A Small Legume With a Big Punch: Lentils
Lentils are low in sodium and saturated fat, and high in potassium, fiber, folate, and plant chemicals called polyphenols that have antioxidant activity. These nutritional properties have led researchers to study their effects on chronic diseases. Lentils also contain slow-digesting resistant starch that delays the absorption of carbohydrates with blood sugar-lowering effects, as well as being a source of prebiotics that feeds gut flora to help prevent digestive diseases. Animal studies have shown that lentils can lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose. Human studies have found that lentils may improve cholesterol levels in people with diabetes and may protect against breast cancer in women.