Adding cheap lentils to your meals could fend off high blood pressure, several trials have shown.

Image credits: Mytinytank / Wikipedia.

We all know the old adage: eat your vegetables, if you wanna be healthy. Well, that’s still as good advice as ever — perhaps even more than ever. Legumes, in particular, are extremely healthy, being a significant source of protein, dietary fiber, and dietary minerals. The most popular legumes are beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Dr. Peter Zahradka from the University of Manitoba has published several studies on the health benefits of lentils.

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Lentils have the second-highest ratio of protein per calorie of any legume, after soybeans. Along with other legumes, they are also great sources of B vitamins and antioxidants. But perhaps more than other beans, lentils are good at protecting your heart.

In 2014, Zahradka and his colleagues found that lentil-based diets attenuate hypertension and large-artery remodeling in hypertensive rats. A year earlier, in 2013, a broader team concluded that daily non-soy legume consumption reverses vascular impairment due to peripheral artery disease. Similar findings were reported in 2016. All in all, there’s a lot of evidence indicating the health benefits of lentils.

“These are amazing results, since they provide a non-pharmacological way of treating diseases associated with blood vessel dysfunction,” said researcher Dr. Peter Zahradka.

“Lentils could alter the physical properties of blood vessels so that they resembled the vessels found in healthy animals.”

Lentils are popular in many parts of the world, most often served as a curry or as a soup. Tasty and versatile, lentils can serve as a great meat replacement. You can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavor. This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper, the NHS writes.Image credits: Steven Depolo.

A quarter of the world’s population is at risk of hypertension, with the risk growing more and more as you age. People with hypertension are more likely to suffer from a wide variety of diseases, including heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or kidney disease.