Health Benefits of Lentils and Chickpeas  

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Regardless of your favorite style of cuisine, chickpeas and lentils can be prepared in a way that suits you. They’re found in American, Spanish and Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and many other cultural foods. Chickpeas are not native to Japan, but are considered a very high end imported delicacy there.

Lentils are from the legume family and are packed with nutrition. Lentils are high in protein and have numerous health benefits including dietary fiber, folate and iron. Lentils are also a rich source of calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins and niacin.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have been eaten in the Middle East, Turkey and Greece for over 10,000 years. Chickpeas have become a staple in many traditional diets in Europe, India and the Mediterranean. Chickpeas are packed with protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals. They help stabilize glucose levels and boost immunity while improving digestion. The chickpea is the second most widely eaten bean in the world after soybeans.

Below are the detailed health benefits of lentils and chickpeas:

Lean Protein – For vegans and vegetarians, lentils are a major source of protein. One cup of cooked lentils provides 18 grams of protein, and this is lean protein with no cholesterol or saturated fat. Although lentils are not considered a “complete” protein as they do not contain all the essential amino acids, when combined with rice or wheat you receive the complete range of proteins. Proteins create hemoglobin and antibodies, help you build and maintain muscle, give you energy, fight bacteria and make you feel full.

Complex Carbohydrates – Lentils contain complex carbohydrates which are digested slowly and provide energy over a longer period without blood sugar spikes. Lentils and chickpeas will also make you feel fuller for a longer period which may reduce your calorie intake.

Stabilizes Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure – Lentils and chickpeas provide soluble fiber and manganese which supports stable and balanced blood sugar levels. The potassium, calcium, and manganese found in lentils and chickpeas help in lowering blood pressure. High fiber foods like lentils and chickpeas aid the digestive process by moving food through the digestive tract smoothly so that waste and toxins are removed. Fiber also helps balance your gut flora, supporting healthy bacteria.

Cancer Fighting Properties – Lentils and chickpeas are a rich source of selenium which fights inflammation and has been shown to inhibit tumor growth. Selenium stimulates the production of cancer-fighting cells and promotes liver detoxification. High fiber chickpeas and lentils also reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Supports Healthy Pregnancy –  Chickpeas and lentils are rich in folate which prevents congenital defects and disabilities while also increasing folic acid levels.

You can use versatile lentils and chickpeas in soups, salads, chili and even delicious and nutritious spreads and dips like the ever popular hummus.

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