Did you know lentils, gram for gram, have even more protein than beef?
It’s true, and with plant-based proteins surging in popularity all over the world, it’s no surprise we’re getting more and more enquiries from Australians looking to growing their own lentil sprouts at home. (If you’re interested in trying them yourself, you can order a home sprouting kit and lentil seeds right here – they have a delicious nutty taste and are a great addition to sandwiches, salads and in a wide range of cooking).
How balanced is your protein intake?
According to a Protein Balance Report prepared by the CSIRO in 2018, an increased daily protein intake in our diets can bring significant health advantages. It found protein can be especially helpful for overweight and older Australians seeking healthier ways to lose weight through better appetite control, reduced food cravings and improved body composition. What makes protein even more important is the fact our bodies aren’t able to store it in the same way they can store carbohydrates and fat. This means we need to maintain a steady protein intake to meet our ongoing health needs.
However, the CSIRO also warns many of us are still getting far too much of our protein from poor sources such as fast food and heavily processed meals. It instead recommends we eat natural protein whole foods including lean meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and lots and lots of legumes (yay!) such as chickpeas and lentils.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your general health or simply have a healthier diet, plant-based proteins have an important role to play.
More than just protein
The nutritional power of lentils doesn’t stop at protein, mind you. In addition to containing 12 grams of protein, just half a cup of lentils provides excellent levels of complex carbohydrates, fibre (32% daily recommendation), potassium, folate, iron (15% daily recommendation) and manganese, which helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Low in fat and calories, lentils are also 100% gluten-free, making them a delicious high-protein staple in a gluten-free kitchen. While their exceptionally low glycaemic index (GI) makes them a popular choice for those on diabetic diets.
Convinced yet? We hope so! Now if you’ll please excuse us, we’re off to enjoy some of our home-grown lentil sprouts. Yum.
Did you know?
The current protein recommendations in Australia for healthy normal weight individuals aged 19-70 years are 0.84 grams per day (per kilogram) for men and 0.75 grams per day (per kilogram) for women.Source: CSIRO Protein Balance Report, 2018, Page 10.