Activ8 Advice: The Benefits of Lentils & Chickpeas

By PCYC Dalby Fitness Professional, Sally Mauch

If you’re like most people, your knowledge about lentils and chickpeas is probably fairly limited.

Let’s start with lentils

Lentils are part of the legume family. There are generally five different types of lentils you can buy – brown, puy, green, yellow and red and beluga (or black) lentils. Red and yellow lentils are split so they cook quickly. They are great in dahls. Brown lentils are probably the most common and widely eaten of the lentil family. These go really well in stews as they hold their shape well during the cooking process.

Lentils are a great source of protein making them an excellent alternative to meat. They’re also a really great source of iron and are high in fibre. They contain phytochemicals which help to protect us against chronic diseases for example heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Now, to chickpeas

Chickpeas are also part of the legume family. They are rich in fibre and protein and contain a range of different nutrients, which is necessary for bone, muscle and skin health.

Chickpeas provide almost one third of an adult’s daily protein needs. They are extremely versatile and can be used in many different dishes. They can also be covered in different spices and cooked in the oven to make a healthy and delicious snack and can play a role in a healthy diabetes meal plan. Chickpeas can be used in hummus which is a healthy alternative to dips, and they make a great meat alternative when making burger patties.

Chickpeas are also known to positively affect:

  • Bone health – the iron and calcium in chickpeas contribute to healthy bones and strength
  • Blood pressure – for the prevention of high blood pressure, increasing the intake of chickpeas assists by providing much needed potassium
  • Heart health – because of the fibre, potassium, Vitamin B, iron, magnesium and selenium in chickpeas, this helps to support our heart
  • Cholesterol – chickpeas are also thought to be responsible for helping in the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (also known as LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol)

Basically, lentils and chickpeas are incredibly versatile, cheap, nutritious and delicious! If you’ve never tried them before, have a go and see how truly wonderful they are.