All about lentils, the low FODMAP diet & a hearty lentil soup recipe!

Hello friends! My name is Rita Shushy Setrakian, and I have been working alongside Kate for past few weeks. I’m a dietetic intern at Teachers College, Columbia University, where I also earned my Master’s of Science degree in nutrition education. I love to experiment in the kitchen and share my creations with others! 

Today, I am providing a post all about lentils!

Personally, I love lentils because they’re easy to use, versatile and a great source of protein and fiber. Since many of Kate’s followers are interested in the low FODMAP diet, I wanted to share how lentils can fit in your nutrition repertoire – and in the low FODMAP diet overall. 

When on a low FODMAP diet, the oligosaccharides present in legumes can be a potential GI symptom trigger. However, food processing can impact the oligosaccharide content in a food. When lentils soak and/or cook in water, this can lower the oligosaccharide content. The water soluble fibers, the oligosaccharides (FODMAPs) leach into the water, which you drain off prior to consumption.   

Similarly, canned lentils undergo a comparable process, making them even lower in FODMAPs and convenient. 

Why are canned lentils lower than simply cooking lentils? 

It appears that the longer the lentils sit in the water, more FODMAPs escape into the water. Using canned lentils can save you some time in meal prep too.

When shopping for canned lentils, look for brands that do not contain other added FODMAPs ingredients such as garlic and onion.

Goya and WestBrae Natural are brands I prefer when buying plain, canned lentils. WestBrae Natural also has different types and provides a product that is much lower in sodium – great for heart health!

These brands below do not contain added onion or garlic.

Several types of lentils exist, including brown, puy, green, yellow, red and beluga. Monash University, the pioneers in FODMAP research and FODMAP food evaluation, have analyzed brown, green, red and Le Puy lentils for FODMAP content so we encourage these varieties to be used during the elimination phase of the diet.

While each lentil type is also unique in its phytochemical and antioxidant make-up, much of the nutrient content is the same.

For this recipe, I used Delallo Lentils!

The appropriate FODMAP portion size is ½ cup of canned lentils (or ¼ cup freshly boiled), and each Delallo can contains 3 servings.

Here are the nutrition facts for Delallo lentils per 1/2 cup serving!

Calories: 160 kcal

Carbohydrates: 33 g

Protein: 6 g

Fat: 0.5 g

Fiber: 6 g

Lentils are particularly high in protein, fiber, folate, iron, zinc and magnesium! Let’s talk a bit about these important nutritions. 

Lentils contain 6 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup canned portion.

For those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, lentils make a great protein option. For those of us who do consume meat, they’re still a tasty, fiber rich, protein rich and nutrient dense ingredient!

Fiber is key for digestive health. One serving of Delallo canned lentils provides 6 grams of fiber; that’s about 25% of your daily requirement!

Lentils provide a great source of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. While folate is crucial for all (it helps the body make healthy new cells), it is particularly important for women of reproductive age. Adequate folate intake can prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain, making it an important nutrient for those planning to conceive and during pregnancy.

Lentils provide a nice dose of plant-based iron too. 

There are two types of iron – heme and non-heme – with heme iron being found in meat, poultry and fish, and non-heme iron being found in plant foods (whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy greens). Non-heme iron is less readily absorbed in the gut, but pairing it with foods high in Vitamin C has been shown to increase absorption.

In my lentil recipe, we’ll be using lemon juice, tomato paste and kale as sources of Vitamin C, but some other foods high in Vitamin C include: bell peppers, strawberries, oranges and broccoli. 

Lentils contain a good amount of zinc.

Zinc levels have been shown to be low in some GI conditions, such as chronic diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. Boost your zinc intake with lentils, or other zinc rich foods such as oyster, pork, or pumpkin seeds. For more information on zinc click here!

Lentils contain magnesium too!

Did you know that most of us don’t get enough magnesium?

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and blood glucose, among a plethora of other crucial bodily functions. Lentils are a good source of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, peanuts and avocados are some other food sources of magnesium.

Now that we know lentils can fit into the low FODMAP diet, let’s get to the fun part – cooking! 

Lentils can be cooked in advance and kept in the fridge to be reused throughout the week, or you can opt to buy some of the canned varieties when on a low FODMAP diet. Whether you decide to sprinkle some over your salad or stir some into your soup, you’ll be adding a nutrient-dense ingredient to any dish.

Here’s a nutrient-packed lentil soup recipe, perfect for a chilly day! Check out these nourishing ingredients:

Disclaimer: This recipe contains FODY foods vegetable soup base; Kate works with FODY foods as an advisor.

References for this post: 

https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/cooking-legumes/

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3967179/

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/iron/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6940487/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4231515/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5177471/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1419071/pdf/gut00438-0045.pdf

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

 

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