Heart Health Matters

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Why make lentils and beans part of your weekly meals?

Legumes

Lentils and beans boring? Not in the least. These are all part of the legume family and not only are they versatile and affordable, but packed with nutrients. So, whether you decide to use the dried or tinned versions, there’s enough good reason to include them as part of your family’s meals on a regular basis.

Although lentils and beans often form an integral part of a vegetarian diet, they are definitely not only reserved for vegetarian meals. It’s a great way to include plant-based proteins as part of a variety of protein sources throughout the week. Their neutral flavour adds to the versatility as many different seasonings combine well with these

Legumes are high in fibre as well as a range of vitamins and minerals, yet low in fat and salt. You may have heard people referring to the GI (or glycaemic index) of a specific food. This is an indication of the effect a specific food has on your blood sugar levels. Food that keeps you full for longer helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Managing your blood sugar levels to not rise and fall too much during the day, will limit the urge to snack too much in between meals and as a result eat more than is actually necessary. Lentils and beans are known to have a low GI, indicating that it will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. A healthy way of eating includes making the best food choices, so that you don’t feel like nibbling all the time.

How you plan and prepare meals to enjoy a healthy way of eating, should be everyone’s focus and even more so for those with diabetes. November is Diabetes Awareness month, with a lot of emphasis on how, what and in which portions sizes meals should be planned to manage blood sugar levels. Adding legumes to your repertoire is therefore a great idea!

Many of the Cooking from the heart recipes has beans or lentils as the main ingredient, both in the dried and tinned versions. Visit www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za for some of these delicious options. Follow www.facebook.com/CookingFromTheHeartSA for daily hints and tips on healthy cooking.

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