Lentils belong to the legume family, along with other beans. Often round, oval or heart-shaped, they are sold whole or split into halves. The brown or green varieties maintain their shape best after cooking. They absorb flavor well from other foods and seasonings. Diabetics have found them to be a valuable part of a healthy diet.


Nutrients

Lentils contain many nutrients. They are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. According to Chennai Online, just one cup provides 90 percent of the daily fiber recommendation. They also contain impotant minerals like iron and potassium, two B-vitamins and protein, among other nutrients. (See Ref 1).

Diabetes Control

Diabetics have found that eating lentils with a meal helps to prevent high blood sugar spikes following that meal, because soluble fiber works to maintain blood sugar levels. They are digested slowly and provide a slow, gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Not only do they help with blood sugar control, but they also provide steady energy.

Other Health Benefits

Cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol are problems that often affect diabetics. Lentils help with these, as well. They are a heart-healthy food, containing magnesium. Magnesium helps improve blood flow to the heart. A magnesium deficiency is associated with heart attack. According to WH Foods, a study found that legumes were responsible for an 82 percent reduction in heart disease risk, due to their cholesterol-lowering abilities.

Carbohydrates

Lentils contain about 20 grams of carbohydrates per half cup (dry). Since diabetics look at carbohydrates closely when planning meals, they must take this carbohydrate count into consideration. Though lentils won’t cause a high spike in blood sugar, diabetics using lentils in cooking should still adhere to their doctor’s or dietician’s recommended amount of carbohydrates per meal.

Where to Buy

Lentils can be found in pre-packaged bags in any grocery store and in cans or bulk bins in some grocery stores and natural food markets. When selecting lentils from a bulk bin, make sure the bins are covered to protect freshness. Also make sure that there is no indication of water or insect damage, and that the lentils are whole and not cracked. There is little nutritional difference between canned lentils and those you cook yourself, according to WH Foods.