The power of pulses

PUBLISHED: 14:45 22 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:02 20 February 2013

The power of pulses

The power of pulses

Nutritionist Carolyn Heaton investigates the overall health benefits of lentils

Nutritionist Carolyn Heaton investigates the overall health benefits of lentils

We are well into the New Year but are you feeling lethargic and could do with a bit of an energy boost to get you up and running again? Chances are you may need to change the type of protein you are eating. You could increase the amount of pulses in your diet and heres a recipe very easy to incorporate into any lifestyle.

Most of the lentils consumed come from India. The plant is tolerant to drought and grows like a bush and produces seeds which in effect are lentils. These seeds are used a lot in French, Middle-Eastern and Indian dishes as a large proportion of these populations are vegetarian. Lentils provide a great amount of the mineral iron, which can be invaluable for children and teenagers and adults alike who are not too keen on eating meat.

Lentils are a cheap alternative to meat, though important to combine with bread or rice with a meal as they lack essential amino acids that meat has. This is a process adopted by vegetarians the world over.

Eating pulses will stabilise blood sugar and give you a feeling of well-being and an overall balance for a bit longer than some other foods could provide. Lentils also possibly reduce the risk of developing colon/bowel cancer.

These seeds provide useful amounts of folate and thiamine, essential vitamins for dna formation and energy production, thereby helping expecting mothers. Significant amounts of the mineral iron will also contribute positively to the biochemical energy cycle of the body.

To contact Carolyn at Elementalle Nutrition, ring 0777 300 7795


A fist full of dried lentils

One onion finely chopped

Two cloves of garlic finely chopped

One punnet of "on the vine" tomatoes halved

A squirt or two of tomato puree for vibrant colour

A pinch of Maldon sea salt

One small fresh chilli added whole

A bunch of fresh parsley as garnish

Overnight soaking will make sure that you remove the phytates from the lentils. Phytates are compounds which inhibit the absorption of many minerals, including iron and calcium.

Lentils cook fairly quickly (about 30 mins on a medium heat). After that its time to add the other ingredients. Cook for a further 30 minutes on a low heat. Leave the soup to cool a little and blend to a smooth consistency but make sure you dont blend the chilli.

Garnish with fresh parsley just before serving. This herb will increase the iron content of the dish.

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