When you think about the healthiest things on the planet, what comes to mind first? For many people, it is exercise, yoga, mindfulness, greens, berries, and, possibly, oatmeal.
For years scientists, however, have been researching the seemingly miraculous effects of legumes, such as lentils, on human health and wellbeing. To put it simply, beans rock!
But what is it about them that makes them so great?
Lentils Reset Your Metabolism
The main reason most people feel sluggish, out of shape and tired all the time is that their metabolism is out of whack. There’s too much glucose in their blood, and too few cells willing to take it up. The liver and muscles are packed with fat that makes them resistant to insulin, increasing the level of this pro-aging hormone in the body.
Lentils, however, are the key to metabolic renewal. It turns out that foods in the legume family dramatically slow the rate at which sugar from food passes into the bloodstream. Beans, chickpeas, and lentils all contain high quantities of something called “resistant starch.” Researchers have found that these food constituents – different from fiber – fosters the growth of beneficial bacteria that churn out compounds that support health. These compounds are anti-inflammatory and help insulin shuttle glucose into cells, bringing blood sugar down to the normal levels.
In a sense, therefore, lentils help to reset your metabolism. Make them a staple of a healthy diet, and you could see dramatic improvements in your health, the likes of which you’ve never experienced before.
Lentils Make Other Foods Less Harmful to Your Body
Lentils have another miraculous property: eating them for lunch can protect you against the junk you eat for dinner.
Hold on – you mean to tell me that lentils keep having beneficial effects hours after you eat them?
You bet they do! Researchers have found that when people eat lentils for breakfast, it prevents the harm from consuming a high-sugar meal at lunch. Factors in the lentils prevent the body from digesting the glucose as quickly and keep blood glucose levels down. Scientists have dubbed this effect the “second meal effect”, and it is one of the most exciting developments in all of nutrition science. It means that what you choose early in the day can defend your body against the onslaught you subject it to later on.
Lentils Provide a Safe Form of Protein
The media likes to talk about the benefits of protein. Practically every advert for snack foods promotes that it is high in protein and low in sugar. Research from the lab, however, shows that we need to be careful with the amount of protein we eat. If levels get too high, it can trigger destructive processes in the body by activating a pro-aging pathway in cells called mTOR.
Protein from lentils, however, appears to be different. Unlike most sources of protein, it doesn’t activate this pathway, protecting you from the metabolic ramifications. Plus, it provides you with a super healthy source of carbs you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.