Lentils - The best protein source and the perfect legume to combat climate change

The humble lentils have many superpowers! It's time we give this legume the respect it deserves. 

Lentils contain a lot of protein and more iron than meat. They are also packed with essential vitamins, including B vitamins, minerals like phosphorus and dietary fibre. What more? Well, they are very easy and fast to cook, easy to store, and you can keep them in your cupboard for a long time. 

Where are lentils from?

Lentils are the edible seeds of a legume plant Lens culinaris or Lens esculenta. These amazing seeds have been known and admired by humans for centuries. The archaeological evidence suggests that humans collected wild varieties of this pulse over 13,000 years ago. Historically, lentils were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent and then spread to Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and North India. Ever since they have sustained millions of people in different areas of the world as a great source of protein and nutrients. 

Today, lentils have hundreds of different varieties cultivated around the world: in France, Le Puy lentils; black lentils in the Middle East; beluga in North America; and in India, red lentils, brown lentils, green lentils, yellow and white, to name just a few, where lentils are a popular food staple.

What do they have in common? They are all equally delicious and fulfilling.

Eating more lentils has many nutritional benefits. Lentils are a source of complete protein compared to meat. When raw, the seeds contain more protein than meat. When cooked, they provide a bit less protein, but if you combine it with other grains, you will have a complete protein-packed meal.

Source of all essential nutrients

Unlike animal-based protein sources, mainly processed meats, lentils do not contain any nasty ingredients like unhealthy saturated fats, conservatives, salt and other additives that are responsible for an increased risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and cancer.  

Instead, lentils provide good amounts of iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, essential amino acids and vitamins, particularly vitamin B, which support your health. A meal based on lentils makes you fuller for longer and helps you with weight management. 

Sustainable protein source 

What's good for humans is good for the planet. Lentils have one more superpower - they are a very sustainable crop and can be the ideal legume to help fight climate change and remove our greenhouse emissions. Lentils are easy to grow, don't need much water, and can thrive on all kinds of soils, even dry ones. In fact, legumes help to rebuild the soil for other crops thanks to bacteria on their roots. They pull nitrogen out of the air and deposit it underground, making a natural fertiliser for the plants and helping the soil to retain nutrients and water for the next crop. They sink more carbon into the ground than is emitted, which makes them carbon negative.




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