Lentils, in common with oats and beans, contain soluble fibre. This is different to the fibre found in wholemeal bread and salad; soluble fibre breaks apart easily in water (it is water soluble) and coats the lining of the gut wall helping to slow down the absorption of sugars into the blood stream. This is important to help keep the blood sugar levels stable, which is a vital part of feeling healthy and energised.
When the gut lining has a coating like this, it is much harder for undesirable bacteria and yeasts to take a hold in the gut. Therefore your gut has another barrier to keep harmful bacteria at bay.
Soluble fibre also helps bind cholesterol, excess hormones and toxins released into the bowel from the liver and gall bladder, preventing their reabsorption back into the blood and allowing them to be bound to faeces and eliminated from the body. If this route is blocked, these unwanted chemicals can build up and can start to affect the equilibrium in your body.
Many people simply don’t know what to do with lentils. If you want to sneak them in to your diet, I recommend adding them to some brown rice and boiling them all up together. If brown rice is not already part of your diet, then simply use it instead of white rice from time to time.
Lentil salads are another tasty way to eat these little pulses. M&S do a lovely lentil and rice salad which is good for a lunchtime snack. Or you can make your own – one of my favourite recipes is Delia Smith’s ‘Puy Lentil Salsa. Or what about ‘Warm Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Goats’ Cheese?.
Or perhaps more appropriate for the colder months are soups with lentils. If you make your own soups, simply throw in a couple of handfuls of lentils with the other ingredients. And there are plenty of lentil based soups available in the supermarket or sandwich shops if homemade is not your thing.
With a bit of experimentation I’m you can find your own easy way of preparing them – I would love to hear of some new recipes, so let me know how you get on!