diabetic diet


continued over

Low in fat, packed with

protein, lentils are a

perfect little pulse, and

one that's been part of the

human diet for millennia.

It's known that medieval farmers in the

south of England grew lentils to put in

their daily pottage as seed relics have

been found from that time period. Maybe

climate change ended the practice.

The optical lens (double-convex

shaped) is named after the lentil, 'lens'

being the Latin name for lentil, and

now the lentil (Lens culinaris) are part of

everyday diets in some corners of the

globe. In the Indian subcontinent Dhal,

or lentil curry, is part of the everyday diet,

eaten with both rice and roti. Boiled lentil

and lentil stock are used as thickening

agent in most vegetarian curries.

Per 100g of lentils there is 20g

carbs, 10g of protein not even 1% fat

and 44% insoluble dietary fibre (which

helps eliminate blood cholesterol).

Other properties include a long list of

proteins (making you feel fuller, longer,

and hence often used by dieters) and

complex carbohydrates (so you don't get

blood sugar spikes after eating them).

In addition as part of a normal diet they

contain 10% of your potassium needs,

10% of your vitamin B-12 needs, 10% of

the magnesium and nearly 20% of your

iron needs.

Spoilt for choice

There is quite a wide variety of lentils

available. Whole lentils keep their shape

when cooked but hulled lentils will turn to

a dal-like purée. Most supermarkets sell

green, Puy and red lentils. Lentils do not

need to be soaked before cooking. Lentils

are also cheap. Ordinary green lentils are

a few pence a helping. Puy lentils are a bit

more fancy and you can even get black

Beluga lentils too, so pick a colour to

match your mood if you want to.

The chief three groups of lentils are

brown, green and red though within

each group they still vary by colour and

origin. Brown lentils cook quickly. Green

lentils, particularly popular in Europe, cook

in around 45 minutes, and work well in

stews. Both retain their shape well when

cooked. Red lentils range from a golden

colour to fully red, and tend to lose their

shape a little when cooked and are most

often used for Indian dhals).

Types of lentils (by name an appearance):

Brown/Spanish pardina; French green/puy


lentils (dark speckled blue-green); Green

lentils; Black/beluga lentils; Yellow/tan lentils

(red inside); Red Chief (decorticated yellow

lentils); Eston Green (small green); Richlea

(medium green); Laird (large green); Petite

Golden (decorticated lentils); Masoor (brownskinned lentils which are

orange inside); Petite

crimson/red (decorticated masoor lentils);

Macachiados (big Mexican yellow lentils).


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