What are lentil benefits and side effects? Are lentils vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are lentil pros and cons: all the info on lentils that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on lentil benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about lentil benefits and side effects. This will include lentil benefits for your health and potential risks, lentil water footprint and lentil carbon footprint, lentil sustainability, if lentils are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if lentils are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about lentil benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Lentil Benefits And Side Effects
Lentil health benefits may include:
- regular bowels
- reduced inflammation
- diabetes management and prevention
- lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
- healthy gut bacteria
- gut health
- lowered risk of disease
- lung function and health
- heart disease prevention
- prevent and fight cancer
- protection against lung cancer and COPD
- blood pressure regulation
- reduce bloating
- weight loss
Lentil side effects may include:
- pesticide consumption if not organic
- do not over-consume, be sure to eat in moderation as with any food
- soak and rinse thoroughly before consuming to avoid harmful bacteria and parasites
Additionally, lentils are…
- Alkaline pH level once digested
- Gluten Free
- Not a common Food Allergen
- High-FODMAP if cooked from dry beans (may cause gas, bloating & pain for some)
- Low FODMAP if canned and well rinsed
- Easy cooking.
- Delicious results.
- Reduce your oil intake.
- Best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one pot!
- Nesting Broil Rack, 5 Quart, Stainless Steel
- We love it!
Water footprint: high, it takes 5,874 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of lentils / 704 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of lentils
Carbon footprint: low, 0.9 CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of lentils, a car driving equivalent of 2 miles or 3.25 kilometers
Destruction: low, lentil production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.
Kills: none, lentil production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, lentil production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from lentil production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May have labor issues
The world’s top lentil producing country is Canada, followed by India and Australia.
The world’s top lentil exporting country is USA, followed by Canada, Turkey, Australia, Germany, Russia, UK, India, Spain and France.
Yes! Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, protein and fiber.
Are lentils alkaline or acidic?
Lentils are alkaline.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
Are lentils a common food allergen?
No, lentils are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to lentils but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
- crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Are lentils low FODMAP?
No, lentils are high-FODMAP if cooked from dry beans, a food you should limit or eliminate if on a low-FODMAP diet. Lentils are low FODMAP if canned and well rinsed.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food
Water footprint of lentils?
Lentils have a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods.
It takes 5,874 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of lentils / 704 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of lentils.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Carbon footprint of lentils?
Lentils have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.
It takes around 0.9 CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of lentils, a car driving equivalent of 2 miles or 3.25 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Are lentils sustainable?
Lentil production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
Are lentils vegan?
Yes, lentils are vegan. Lentils are legumes and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List
Does lentils have human rights issues?
At this time there have been no major concerns with lentil production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about lentil benefits and side effects.
Lentils, raw – FoodData Central – USDA
Harvard, The Nutrition Source, Lentils
Polyphenol-Rich Lentils and Their Health Promoting Effects
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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