Lentils and legumes are a great source of protein and fiber. They also provide antioxidants, folate, and various minerals. According to Dr. Sharon Moalem, in his book The DNA Restart, legumes additionally provide a rich source of isoflavonoids and phytosterols, which nourish your genes. Other studies have shown that legumes help to lower cholesterol, reduce cardiovascular and heart disease, possibly reduce your risk for diabetes, help with weight loss, and even reduce pro-inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein.
That is a lot of good stuff. However, to gain these benefits lentils and legumes must be prepared the right way. Similar to nuts and seeds, lentils and legumes contain “anti-nutrients” or phytochemicals like phytic acid and lectins, which inhibit the absorption of certain minerals, and enzyme inhibitors, which can prevent proper digestion. Soaking and sprouting them before cooking (as shown below) helps to reduce these anti-nutrients. It also helps to enhance the vitamins, minerals, and fiber naturally found in the lentils and legumes. Continue reading