Good Gut Lentil Soup

What makes lentils so great for your gut?


Pulses are edible seeds from the legume family including beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. Pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of cropping systems– this means they bring nitrogen back to the soil, improving its quality and nutrients for themselves and other plants that grow there! Lentils come in a variety of colors; the brown and green varieties retain their shape well (some more fully than others), whereas the hulled and, most particularly, split red and yellow lentils tend to disintegrate and, therefore, are best for soups or in applications where they'll be pureed. Lentils are a great source of plant protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.


More specifically, lentils are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, B-vitamins, fiber, and folate. Folate is essential in maintenance of the cell, and B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. Each color of lentil provides its own unique set of antioxidants and unique benefits of slightly different vitamins and minerals. Their high fiber content is also important for intestinal health and easier bowel movements, as 1/2 cup contains 8 grams of fiber!


Lentils are packed with nutrients, but what can they do for your gut? Well, lentils have a significant amount of prebiotic fiber, which essentially feeds the “good” bacteria in your body and allows them to proliferate and defeat the “bad” bacteria. Prebiotics are important to add into your diet to maintain and promote the proper gut flora, and to prevent SIBO or IBS symptoms that can come from a dysbiosis of the bacteria in the gut! Lentils have also been found to increase the amount of butyrate production in the colon. Butyrate is a compound that when made by the bacteria in the colon acts as a fuel source for the enterocytes (the very important cells that line the gut), allowing for a symbiotic relationship to form between the bacteria and the human cells in the body. How cool is that?


Ways to eat it

*to make these little guys more digestible, try soaking dry raw lentils in a large amount of water overnight, or for 12-24 hours, then boiling or steaming them thoroughly*


Here are some fantastic ways to get you started incorporating lentils in your diet!

Try adding lentils to a cold salad, or a vegetable saute!

If you want to go super simple, and you have a taste for the little legumes, just cook (boil) for 20-25 minutes in some water, add some salt, and eat them plain! They can be a hearty and satisfying part of a balanced meal.

Try this Lentil Soup from Married to Health’s recipes!


Recipe: Lentil Soup


Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):

  • 4 cups brown lentils, dried

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 quart vegetable broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 3 carrots

  • 3 celery stalks

  • 1/2 can coconut cream

  • 2 Tbsp himalayan pink salt

  • 2 Tbsp cumin

  • 2 Tbsp paprika

  • 1 Tbsp turmeric

  • 2 Tbsp seasoning mix (sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary)

Directions:

  1. Soak the lentils overnight in water to make sure they are digestible.

  2. Chop all vegetables and set aside

  3. Sauté the garlic and onions using some vegetable broth. Cook until translucent.

  4. Place all other ingredients into a pot. Set timer for 4 hours on high.

  5. Once the onions are translucent, add vegetables and spices into pot. Cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Add the liquids, and cover, and cook for 11 minutes on high.

Heal with Each Meal!


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References


Boye, J., Simpson, B. & Roy, F. (March 2010). Bioactive proteins and peptides in pulse crops: Pea, chickpea, and lentil. Food Research International: Elsevier, Volume 43 (Issue 2), pp 432-442. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996909002671.

Foodtolive Team. (30 August 2018). Red lentils: Benefits, nutrition and uses. Food to Live. https://foodtolive.com/healthy-blog/red-lentils-benefits-nutrition-and-uses/.

Asp, K. (17 September 2020). The number one food you should be eating but probably aren’t. The Beet. https://thebeet.com/the-number-one-food-you-should-be-eating-but-probably-arent-lentils/.


Fountaine, S. (8 April 2019). Celery salad with lentils, dates, and almonds. Feasting At Home. https://www.feastingathome.com/celery-salad/.

Pituch, A., Walkowiak, J., & Banaszkiewicz, A. (2013). Butyric acid in functional

constipation. Przeglad gastroenterologiczny, 8(5), 295–298.

https://doi.org/10.5114/pg.2013.38731.


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