How Do You Make a Good, Easy Lentil Quesadilla? + Health Benefits
8 minute read
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of lentils. Although these legumes are commonly used to replace meat in vegetarian dishes, they are versatile and tasty for every palate.
Lentils can be used for a variety of sides and meals, like the easy-to-make quesadillas discussed below. They taste good, are full of nutrition, and help support healthy living.
The Benefits of Lentils
Lentils have been cultivated since the dawn of agriculture and have played a key role in diets for millenia. They are often compared to meat in terms of protein value and make a great meat substitution for vegetarians, vegans, or those who just try to limit meat intake for health reasons.
| Related: Vegetarian Eggplant and Sweet Potato Lasagna |
Outside of replacing meat, lentils are packed full of nutrients that deliver everything you need to live a healthy life.
Lentils are high in dietary fiber, which, when consumed regularly, support healthy digestion. Bulking up stools and promoting regular bowel movement, you decrease your risk of constipation.
Additionally, the dietary fiber helps support your gut bacteria, allowing for improved digestion and absorption.
Lentils do not contain much fat, which protects you from obesity and controls cholesterol levels. The abundance of protein also helps to prevent storage of excess fat in the body.
With lower fat and cholesterol levels, your heart is protected from cardiovascular disease. Lentils also contain magnesium which keeps your heart muscles relaxed and blood pressure low, supporting healthy heart function.
Muscle repair and growth requires essential amino acids and these can be found in the proteins that lentils provide. Regular consumption will support muscle growth and repair as well as function to all muscles in your body.
This legume is a good source of the vitamin B complex, specifically folic acid. This vitamin is essential for the formation of blood cells and can help prevent hypertension and DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Folic acid, or folate, is especially good for pregnant women to support the proper development of the baby and prevent birth defects.
Plant lectins are a type of plant protein found in lentils and studies have found that these exert a powerful influence over cancer cells in your body. These proteins have the ability to stimulate cytotoxicity and cell apoptosis (cell death), making those ideal candidates for the prevention of cancer cell growth and metastasis.
The high content of dietary fiber in lentils helps you to control blood sugar levels, which is beneficial to individuals with diabetes. It also helps to prevent the development of diabetes.
| Related: 5 Health Benefits of Turmeric for Diabetes |
Dietary fiber impacts digestion and slows the rate of absorption, so sugar is not taken up into the bloodstream as quickly. Blood sugar levels are regulated, therefore preventing spikes and crashes which can impact your health.
The antioxidant compounds in lentils help to prevent the development of atherosclerosis, a disease involving the presence of plaques in your artery walls. Hardened and blocked arteries interfere with blood flow and negatively impacts heart health.
| Related: An Easy Cauliflower Pasta for Fiber and Antioxidants |
In addition to protecting your arteries, the antioxidants in lentils effectively scavenge free radicals that cause oxidative damage to your cells, thus protecting you from premature cell aging.
The dietary fiber in lentils helps promote a feeling of fullness. When eaten regularly, lentils can thus help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight goal.
By increasing satiety, you will avoid overeating and unnecessary snacking that can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
The vitamins and minerals in lentils help promote smooth digestive processes and support the nervous system. By controlling cholesterol, promoting nerve health, and decreasing risks of cardiovascular diseases as well as digestive complications, lentils keep all systems flowing within your body.
High in Iron
Lentils are full of iron, an essential mineral for your health. Iron is required for healthy hemoglobin production and red blood cell health.
Without healthy and abundant red blood cells you are at risk for anemia, and oxygen cannot be effectively distributed through your body. Getting adequate iron is essential for optimal health, and lentils can give you all that you need.
Nervous System Support
Essential vitamins, like those of the B complex, are important for brain and nervous system health, and lentils have plenty. In addition to these, lentils contain copper, which supports brain function, and magnesium, which is vital for nerve function and development.
Potassium is one of the abundant minerals found in lentils, and this is essential for electrolyte activity in your body. Low potassium levels have been linked to serious health conditions and diseases while maintained levels help support healthy brain, kidney, liver, and heart function.
Potassium works to control the fluid balance in your body that regulates nerve and tissue function.
Delicious and Nutritious Lentil Recipe You Must Try
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Half a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed
1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
2.5 cups vegetable broth
16 flour tortillas
3-4 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
A few tablespoons butter (optional)
1. To make the sauce, blend all ingredients together in a blender until completely smooth.
2. For the filling, you first place the lentils, rice, broth, and sauce in a slow cooker on high heat for 4 to 6 hours. In a heated skillet, layer the tortillas, ¼ cup of cheese, ½ cup filling, and another tortilla.
3. Spread butter over the outside of the tortillas and brown on each side for 4 minutes. Repeat until all the filling is gone, cut, and serve.
The Bottom Line
Lentils are full of goodness and versatility to add to any meal. A great replacement for meat and packed with just as much protein, keeping you healthy whether you follow a restricted diet or not.
Try our delicious lentil recipe and discover how easy they are to use. You will fall in love with lentils in no time, making your taste buds happy and your overall health in optimal condition. Healthy food never tasted so good.