A Lesson in Lentils by Seattle Italian Restaurant

The Many Benefits of the Tuscan Lentil Diet

Lentils are legumes along with other types of beans. There are about one or two round, oval or heart-shaped disk seeds per pod in brown and green varieties. They are easy to cook and available year round in all markets in Italy. Tuscans love their lentils especially, adding them to soups and stews as they readily absorb the flavors of other foods and seasonings. Lentils also pack a punch of nutritional values that many of us don’t know. Let’s see.

Lentils provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, B-vitamins, and protein, and virtually no fat. A whole cup of cooked lentils is just 230 calories. You can eat lots and not gain weight. They also are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and prevents the rapid rise of sugar levels after a meal. As a dietary fiber source, lentils have both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble form captures cholesterol-containing bile and carries it out of the body, while the insoluble type helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation.

The heart, too, benefits from these little beans. Lentils have significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate helps lower homocysteine, an amino acid and a risk factor for heart disease if their levels increase, while magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, normalizing fluctuating blood pressure in the arteries. In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, lentils’ soluble fiber are good for diabetics also. They help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.

Truly, you can get a lot of nutritional goodness with the Tuscan lentil diet. The Tuscan way is via lentil soup or stew, delicious and filling, such as the ribolita. The beans also combine well with vegetables like kale, cabbage or tomatoes. Sausages pairs well also.

Lentil dishes at IL Bistro Seattle

Conscious about your weight and diet? Have healthy lentils at IL Bistro, your Seattle Italian restaurant in Pie Place Market. Savor other Italian classics and dine and wine Tuscan-style in our soft, romantic setting.