Four Health Benefits of Red Lentils

While regular lentils are very healthy, red lentils have a milder flavor. They're also more digestive, low in fat, and provide us with a large amount of essential nutrients.
Four Health Benefits of Red Lentils

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Red lentils are also known as “Turkish lentils”. It’s a variety similar to the Spanish pardina lentil, although its flavor is milder and is comparable to that of walnuts. In any case, like other legumes, it’s popular for its interesting nutritional properties.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, this food contains polyphenols, proteins, essential amino acids, fiber, and other active compounds that benefit health. It’s even considered a prebiotic, as it contributes to the care of the intestinal microbiome. Do you want to know more about its contributions? Keep reading!

The great nutritional benefits of red lentils

Each variety of lentil has a unique composition of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Red lentils are a variety in which these substances are abundant, which is why their consumption is associated with positive health effects. Their main properties are detailed below.

See also: 3 Delicious Recipes with Lentils

1. They promote proper nutrition during pregnancy

Undoubtedly, red lentils are a very healthy food for the gestation period. Due to their iron content, they contribute to the prevention of anemia during this stage. They also provide dietary fiber, which reduces the risk of constipation and digestive difficulties.

Among other things, it provides folates, which are essential to prevent defects or malformations in the nervous system of the fetus, as detailed in a study published in the journal Nutrients. It is also a nutrient that reduces the risk of premature birth.

A pregnant woman holding an ultrasound picture over her belly.
The consumption of red lentils during pregnancy is healthy for both the mother and the fetus.

2. Red lentils improve your digestive health

The starches and fiber that these lentils contain are adjuvants in the digestion process. Once assimilated in the body, they prolong the feeling of satiety and help regulate the intestinal microbiota. This, in general, translates into better digestive health.

At the same time, since they have no skin, they are easier to digest than common lentils. They are even good for those who have intestinal difficulties and excess gas. Ideally, it’s best to consume them at least once a week.

Take a look at this article: 3 Delicious Recipes with Lentils

3. They help to take care of heart health

The consumption of red lentils is associated with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Due to their polyphenol content, studies have determined that they contribute to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce those of bad cholesterol (LDL).

Likewise, due to their content of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, they’re useful in stimulating metabolic functions. As a result, they reduce the tendency to obesity and excess weight, which are cardiac risk factors.

4. They protect against chronic diseases

The polyphenol content of red lentils contributes to the prevention of chronic diseases. In fact, as stated in a publication in the Journal of Functional Foods, substances such as procyanidin and flavonoids have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.

In other words, their consumption as part of a healthy and varied diet is a way to reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer, metabolic disorders, and cognitive alterations.

How to prepare red lentils

One of the advantages of red lentils is their cooking time, which is very fast. They don’t require a pre-soak period, so they’re faster to prepare than traditional lentils. Let’s look at some options.

To cook a portion you need:

  • 1 cup of raw red lentils (200 g)
  • 2 cups of water or broth (500 ml)


  • Rinse the lentils under running tap water.
  • In a pot, place the broth and the lentils and cook for 20 minutes.
  • If the broth needs some seasoning, you may add a touch of salt and pepper. Upon cooking, the lentils typically vary slightly in color and become lighter.
  • Once cooked, you can eat them alone or use them to prepare other soups and salads.
Cooked turkish lentils.
There are several ways to include red lentils in your regular diet. They can even be combined with other vegetables in salads.

A salad to enjoy red lentils

To give you an idea, we’ll leave you with a basic salad recipe. It has an excellent flavor and is rich in healthy fats and protein.


  • 1 cup of cooked red lentils (200 g)
  • 1 marinated and grilled chicken breast
  • ½ a ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (16 g)
  • ½ cup of cooked corn grains (100 g)
  • ½ seeded cucumber
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


  • Chop the chicken into small pieces once it’s grilled.
  • Chop the avocado and the cucumber into small cubes.
  • In a bowl, mix the lentils, chicken breast, avocado, corn, and cucumber.
  • Mix the olive oil and lemon juice and season the salad.
  • Add a little salt and pepper.

What should you remember about red lentils?

Red lentils, like other lentil varieties, contain proteins, carbohydrates, and antioxidant compounds that contribute to better health. Therefore, it’s a good idea to eat them on a regular basis.

The most interesting thing is that they’re a versatile food, low in calories, and are ideal for making varied and delicious dishes. So, are you ready to incorporate them into your diet?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Xu B, Chang SK. Phenolic substance characterization and chemical and cell-based antioxidant activities of 11 lentils grown in the northern United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Feb 10;58(3):1509-17. doi: 10.1021/jf903532y. PMID: 20058926.
  • Houshmand G, Tarahomi S, Arzi A, Goudarzi M, Bahadoram M, Rashidi-Nooshabadi M. Red Lentil Extract: Neuroprotective Effects on Perphenazine Induced Catatonia in Rats. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016;10(6):FF05–FF8. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2016/17813.7977
  • Ganesan K, Xu B. Polyphenol-Rich Lentils and Their Health Promoting Effects. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(11):2390. Published 2017 Nov 10. doi:10.3390/ijms18112390
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.