Lentils are part of the legume family and are an important food to include in your diet if you're a woman over 40. Here are the top 5 reasons to eat lentils (and other legumes) at least 3 times per week:
#1: Protein: Studies show women over 40 need more protein as they age to maintain muscle and prevent weight gain (or help with weight loss). The amount of protein and how it's distributed throughout the day is very important. Lentils are 3rd highest in protein of any plant food, making them especially important for vegans and vegetarians.
#2: Stabilize blood sugar: The steady, slow burn of the carbohydrates in lentils makes them a great choice to prevent peaks and valleys in blood sugar, which leads to hunger and overeating for many women. Lentils can be an important part of a weight loss plan for women approaching menopause.
#3: High in Iron: Lentils make a great substitute for red meat and should be a staple in the diets of all women, but especially women who are vegan or vegetarian.
#4: B Vitamins: A great source of several B vitamins, these small wonders boost energy and immunity.
#5: Lower Cholesterol: Because they're high in soluble fiber, lentils can help lower cholesterol and aid in digestion. Two important health issues for women over 40!
There are many ways to incorporate lentils into your diet. Add them to salads, mix them into soups, make a side dish of lentils and brown rice or make them the entree for a meatless meal. I absolutely love Trader Joe's Lentils! They are cooked perfectly and seasoned nicely. I always have them on hand so I can heat them in the microwave to make a quick meal or add to soups. Give them a try!
Tomorrow I'll share a wonderful Lentil-Apple-Walnut Salad recipe that you can eat warm or cold. It makes great left-overs for lunch the next day or all week. By doubling the recipe you'll have enough left over to easily reach the goal of eating lentils or other legumes at least 3 days/week (more days is even healthier)!
Disclosures: Jill West, RDN has no affiliation with any products mentioned in this blog post.