This lentil stew is packed with nutrition and is an outstanding source of fiber.
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition, and I'm always seeking ways to incorporate them into our diet. This savory lentil stew is easy to prepare, and can be served as a starter or as a main dish.
Here's why this savory lentil stew is considered a skin saving food (based on my guidelines for eating for healthy skin).
1. Eat power.
The main ingredient in this recipe, lentils, are widely considered to be a powerhouse of nutrition.
Lentils are a type of legume, along with beans and chickpeas, and are known for being high in protein. They're also high in fiber, which is one of the keys to maintaining overall health. Lentils also contain a number of powerful nutrients, including iron and folate, as well as antioxidants.
The other ingredients in the stew, including the carrots and onions, are also rich sources of fiber and antioxidants. Even the flavorings, including the spices and the tomato paste, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which act to protect against the skin-damaging effects of UV radiation.
2. Stop sugar spikes.
Lentils provide a great combination of fiber, protein, and nutrients. One cup of cooked lentils contains 16 g of dietary fiber, which makes it an outstanding source of fiber.
Fiber is one of the most important nutrients for healthy skin. To begin with, many types of plant fiber serve as prebiotics, which means they encourage the growth of good bacteria in our gut. Research has shown that those good bacteria may act to help reduce skin inflammation.
Foods with fiber also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Since spikes in blood sugar levels can cause collagen damage, foods that stabilize blood sugar help protect your collagen.
That healthy dose of fiber (and protein) in lentils has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine studied the effects of adding legumes to the diet of persons with diabetes. Eating just one extra cup of legumes daily led to improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
This recipe is also simple, since it's just a saute and simmer. Saute a few ingredients, then add all of the other ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped 1 cup French green lentils
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each: thyme, black pepper, garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin 2 tsp soy sauce [low-sodium]
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1. Heat oil on medium-high heat
2. Saute onions and carrots until onions are translucent
3. Add lentils and water
4. Add flavorings [spices, soy sauce, and tomato paste]
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes
Dr. Rajani Katta is the author of Glow: The Dermatologist's Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet. To receive future updates on preventive dermatology and the role of diet, sign up here.