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The Healthiest Lentil

Red, green, or French green?

September 3, 2010 |
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Transcript

In 2008, black beans beat out lentils by a hair and remain the reigning champ for most laudable legume in terms of antioxidants, but, with regards to protein, iron, zinc, and folate, lentils actually triumph over black beans. The problem is, you go to the store, and there are, three different kinds!
Red lentils, green lentils, and French green lentils. Which is healthiest? We didn’t know until, this year... Well, it’s not, green lentils. Spilling the beans, red lentils are healthiest.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on lentils. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog post: The Best Foods: test your nutrition knowledge.

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/sewmadd/ sewmadd

    I love this information. But I sometimes want to access information but do not want to have to view a video. Please make text an available option.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      That could also allow us to get volunteers to help translate the transcript into other languages–thank you for the suggestion!

      • barbarabrussels

        I would love to volunteer! :-)

      • Anna

        If you need a volunteer to translate to/from Russian, I will be happy to help

        • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.
          • Silvia Gosewehr

            great :) It might be a good idea as well to put the link for these instructions to some place where people are more likely to see it. I have seen it by accident and decided that it is worth a try.

          • Tommasina

            I just wanted to update everyone that we can now read any video transcript by clicking on the “Transcript” button under the video. You don’t have to view the video to read what Dr. Greger is saying. Hope that helps! :)

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    If anyone is worried about the gassiness of lentils, check out my blogpost Clearing the Air.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/blanster/ Blanster

    I am so happy to read that red lentils are the best, since I love them and have been using them in a variety of recipes lately (soup and curry). I just wish they were more readily available to my friends who live in small towns. I can get them here in the Chicago area easily, but outside Chicago – not so much.

    • http://macsmiley.tumblr.com/ MacSmiley

      Walmart now sells both green and red lentils. My local health food store just added French green lentils to its bulk repertoire, but it also sells brown lentils. Where do they fall on the lentil scale??

      BTW, the lentil scale gives different numbers than the all-legumes scale. What gives?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/ghulstyle/ ghulstyle

    if red are the healthiest lentil choice would that also include red split lentils?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/drdons/ DrDons

      The splitting should not have much effect. You have to keep in mind that processing tends to decrease nutrient value depending on the degree and type of processing see: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/great-grain-robbery/. Be well and keep tuned to Nutritionfacts.org as the science keeps changing.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Yes indeed!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post The Best Foods: Test Your Nutrition Knowledge!

  • LentilLover

    I’ve heard that not soaking lentils for 12 hours can result in negative “anti-nutrients” that completely offset any benefit. I find it difficult to soak lentils for this long before use but I have heard pressure cooking may destroy these anti-nutrients. Could you advise on this at all?

  • lovestobevegan

    Not-So-Lowly-Lentil Soup

    -2 cups red lentils
    -6 cups water/homemade vegetable broth
    -1 clove garlic, minced
    -1 red onion, diced
    -2 medium-sized carrots, cut into half moons
    -2 green plantains*, cut into half moons
    -1 tbsp cilantro
    -1 tsp cumin
    -1 tsp oregano
    -black pepper to taste

    Combine all ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil then simmer over low heat until vegetables and lentils tender, about 20-25 minutes. Serve and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

    *If you have never cooked with plantains before, the green ones taste similar to a potato but look like a green banana. As they ripen and turn brown they become sweeter and at their brownest (sweetest), resemble the taste of a greener banana.

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  • Yaron

    Another interesting video =)

    Why is the antioxidants level the right measure of which food is healthier?

    Seems like food can contribute to the body in so many different ways. One could argue that you can still eat very healthy foods according to this measure and suffer from malnutrition due to lack of iron, for example…

    I’d greatly appreciate your opinion about this!

  • Demianwulf

    Ok, I know this is an old post, but I hope your still replying. I take it I should soak my lentils based on a previous response because of the reduction of phytic acid. My query is what do I do with the soaking water? Is it necessary to throw it out?

    • Toxins

      If you cook your lentils, the phytic acid will also be nearly eliminated. There is no need to soak beforehand.

  • Barbara

    How about black lentils?

    • Thrivalista

      I too would be interested to learn how black lentils compare with the 3 covered here.

  • Chung Gouy

    Are there any nutrients removed going for the split lentils? Or is it much better going for the whole?

    • http://macsmiley.tumblr.com/ MacSmiley

      No, but they do cook faster, so watch the clock.