Read about the nutrition facts, health benefits, nutritional value and calories found in Lentils

Lentils Nutrition

If you have ever had a meal in an Indian restaurant, you must have been surely served with a spicy dish, commonly known as ‘dal’. This spicy dish is made of lentils which are actually legumes. They normally grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds. Lentils are one of the earliest foods mankind has been consuming. Lentils have a distinct earthy flavor and are very commonly used throughout South Asia, the Mediterranean regions, and the Middle East. It is very often combined with rice to make delicious dishes. You must have heard of another delicacy ‘khichdi’, a very popular Indian dish made up of lentils and rice. These small legumes are exceptionally nutritious and carry numerous health benefits. Lentils are rich in proteins and they meet a major part of the protein demands of the body. If you are a vegetarian and are concerned about your protein intake, you can ideally incorporate lentils in your regular diet as they offer the third highest level of proteins from plant-based foods, after soybeans and hemp.  Glance through the sections below to know what other healthy advantages lentils add to your palate and body.


Lentils have been consumed since prehistoric times and they have been believed to have originated in central Asia. Traces of the earliest use of lentil seeds can be trailed back to 8000 years at the archeological sites in the Middle East. Lentils have been mentioned in the Bible at many instances, one as an item Jacob traded to Esau for his birthright, and another as a part of the bread made during the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people. For thousands of years, lentils have been traditionally consumed with barley and wheat. These three foodstuffs are believed to have originated in the same regions and spread throughout Africa and Europe during similar migrations and explorations of cultural tribes. Lentils were introduced to India some time before 1st century AD. It is now one of the most important constituents of traditional Indian cuisines. In many catholic countries, lentils form the staple food during the period of Lent. The current top producers of lentils are Canada, India, Nepal, and the United States.


Health Benefits of Masoor dal (Lentils)


  • Lentils are extremely rich in soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, thereby helping in removing bile from the body. It further helps in eliminating and reducing blood cholesterol levels.

  • The higher fiber content of lentils helps in increasing the size of stool; hence, speeding the journey of waste products through the gut. In short, lentils are useful for alleviating constipation. The fiber content also reduces the risk and the symptoms of diverticulosis, a condition in which small pouches form in the colon wall.

  • The soluble fiber in lentils has the property of trapping carbohydrates. It slows down the digestion and absorption process, hence preventing major changes in blood sugar level throughout the day. This helps diabetic patients.

  • The insoluble fiber in lentils leads to the feeling of early satiation; hence, people eat less and gain fewer pounds. Besides, insoluble fiber is indigestible, which passes through the body adding just a few calories.

  • Lentils are rich in flavones, a class of antioxidants with antioxidant properties. Studies have proved that regular consumption of lentils can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

  • Lentils prove to be significant for a healthy heart as they prevent heart coronary problems. Fiber in the lentils reduces blood cholesterol levels and plaque forming on the walls of the arteries, thereby eliminating the risk of stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.

  • Apart from providing low burning complex carbohydrates, lentils increase energy levels by replenishing iron stores. This is particularly very important for menstruating women, who are at a higher risk of iron deficiency.

  • Besides fiber which contributes to the health of the cardiovascular system, lentils contain folic acid and magnesium, significant for reducing the level of homocysteine, a compound known to be dangerous for the heart and artery walls. Also, lentils promote better blood flow and passage of oxygen and nutrients to the organs.

  • Rich in the antioxidant, molybdenum, lentils assist the body in breaking down harmful substances hence reducing allergy symptoms. This antioxidant is also essential for preventing impotency, particularly in older men, and avoiding anemia.

  • Researches indicate that the vitamin E found in lentils helps prevent the risk of Parkinson’s disease, though the exact connection is not yet determined.


Nutritional Value & Calories In Lentils 

Amount: 1 cup

Weight: 192 g

Basic Components

50 g


20 g


5.1 g


Total Calories


Calories From Carbohydrates


Calories From Fats


Calories From Proteins


Total Carbohydrates

115 g

Dietary Fiber

59 g


3.9 g

Fats & Fatty Acids

Total Fat

2 g

Saturated Fat

300 mg

Monounsaturated Fat

363 mg

Polyunsaturated Fat

0.99 g

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

209 mg

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

776 mg


Vitamin A

75 IU

Vitamin C

8.4 mg

Vitamin E

941 mcg

Vitamin K

9.6 mcg


1.7 mg


405 mcg


5 mg

Vitamin B6

1 mg


920 mcg

Pantothenic Acid

4.1 mg


185 mg


108 mg


14 mg


234 mg


866 mg


1.8 g


12 mg


9.2 mg


1 mg


2.6 mg


16 mcg


How many calories in lentils (per 100 gm)

Lentils have about 353 calories per 100 g of weight.


How to Buy Lentils


  • Lentils can be found in prepackaged containers as well as in bulk bins. If you are purchasing lentils in bulk bins, make sure that the bins are properly covered.

  • Always buy lentils from a store with a good product turnover to ensure its maximum freshness.

  • While buying lentils, check for the moisture or insect damage. Never buy lentils that are not whole or are cracked.

  • While buying canned lentils, avoid those containing extra salt and additives.


Lentils Storage Tips


  • Lentils a longer shelf life. You can store lentils in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place. This way they can be stored for up to twelve months.

  • Lentils purchased at different times contain varying stages of dryness and hence, should be stored separately as they will require different cooking times.

  • Cooked lentils have a relatively shorter life. If kept in a covered container in the refrigerator, they can remain fresh for about three days.

More About Lentils