The Health Benefits of Lentils for Women (and some for men, too!)
Lentils bring so much to the table. Most people eat lentils for lean protein. And it’s true, they offer a low-fat, cholesterol-free source of protein – great for weight control. But lentils have so much more to offer.
Why lentils are among the best food for women’s sexual health
The health benefits of lentils are linked with everything from the health of sexual hormones to improving mood. And they’ve been found particularly beneficial to women. Here’s a look at all the reasons we recommend lentils for women as well as a few reasons these legumes can also benefit men’s health.
View the list of all 10 Best Foods for Women
Lentils are a source of vitamin B1, selenium, magnesium, manganese and iron, all nutrients beneficial to sexual health for both women and men. And lentil is noted as a non-dairy source of calcium. As such, this power pulse will contribute to keeping your bones strong.
A high-fiber food
For starters, the benefits of lentils include the fact that they’re remarkably high in dietary fiber. In fact, one cup of cooked lentils offers over 15 grams of fiber. (That’s more than half of a woman’s daily fiber intake.)
But what is the importance of fiber? For women, one of the most compelling reasons to focus on fiber intake is that getting the right amount of fiber can banish bloat, prevent constipation and help your feel your most sexy.
But fiber has some serious health benefits beyond making you look and feel sexy. It helps stabilize blood sugar. According to Harvard Health, eating high-fiber foods like lentils is also linked with maintaining heart health. And fiber may even support the ability of sex hormones to do their job. Learn more about the benefits of fiber to your sex life.
The benefits of lentils to your cholesterol levels
In addition, you may know that lentils are cholesterol-free. But did you know that they also help lower cholesterol? According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, eating 1/2 cup of lentils and other pulses daily may be effective in lowering bad cholesterol.
And although you might not immediately make the association, healthy cholesterol levels are important for sexual health not just for men but also for women. One 2009 study found that premenopausal women with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), reported lower arousal, orgasm and overall sexual satisfaction than the women in the study’s control group.
A link with weight loss
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, lentils are a great food to start adding to your diet. This is because lentils are high in protein and fiber but low in fat. And although lentils are high in carbohydrates, only around 10% of their calories come from simple sugars. In other words, lentils can help you feel full while providing sustained energy and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
It should be noted that there is a line of thought that the same combination of nutrients that make lentils beneficial for weight loss may help prevent breast cancer, there is no significant research to link lentils with breast cancer prevention at this time.
Lentils and fertility
Not enough to sell you on the idea of regularly eating lentils? No problem! We’ve got even more reasons the benefits of lentils can boost your sex life. As a good source of folate, they’re considered heart-healthy. But that folate isn’t just beneficial to your heart, it also works to improve women’s fertility.
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Although some experts believe folate can improve men’s sperm, little clinical data supports such a belief. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t lentil benefits for men as well as women.
A source of plant-based protein
Lentils make a good source of plant-based protein. In fact, lentils are 25% protein. A one-cup serving of lentils offers almost 18 grams of protein. This is a little more than a third of the average woman’s protein needs. A man will require more but daily protein needs for both men and women vary by age, weight and activity level.
But even if you require more protein, keep in mind that as a lean protein source, lentils boost the body’s production of sex-boosting and mood-enhancing norepinephrine. That benefit of lentils alone should be enough of a reason to get you leafing through your lentil recipes!
Do all lentils have the same nutrition?
Lentils are legumes related to peas and beans and, like beans, are often sold dried. Dried lentils can be stored for years in an air-tight container, which is part of what makes them such an attractive source of protein and other nutrients. But, also like beans, not all lentils have the same color, texture or even the same nutritional values.
According to plantbasedfacts.com, French green lentils and Puy lentils have the greatest protein content. But if you consult the USDA FoodData Central database for other types of lentils, you could say that red lentils are the most healthy because of their remarkable potassium and iron content and the fact that they are more digestible than brown lentils or green lentils.
Like red lentils, black lentils or beluga lentils are also remarkably rich in potassium and iron as well as calcium. But if you’re comparing the nutrition in red lentils to that of black lentils, you may want to give the win to black. Because of their intense color, black lentils are rich in anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in dark foods like blueberries.
But whichever lentil you choose, you can feel assured that you’re getting a health boost from all the nutrients listed above.
Lentil Grain Meatless Loaf
Chicken Thighs with Golden Lentils
Cashew and Squash Daal
10 Best Foods for Women
Up Next: Kale
This article was written in 2015 and most recently updated in November 2021. Research by our Director of Nutrition, Delahna Flagg, PhD.
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