Why lentil soup is the best ally to control high cholesterol

Lentils are a cardioprotective food: they are low in fat, rich in protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and slow-absorbing carbohydrates.

Photo: Nina Firsova / Canva

In recent months one of the most trending topics has been high cholesterol, the precedent par excellence of cardiovascular diseases. A silent enemy, which is usually detected in consultation through routine blood tests. The truth is that the cases are in considerable increase. Based on this, all kinds of dietary and lifestyle-focused recommendations have come to light. According to experts, one of the main measures is to make adjustments in the diet, one of the most recommended daily consumption products for high cholesterol is lentils. It is an incredibly nutrient dense legume, rich in fiber and ideal to integrate into your daily diet. Plus, lentil soup is perfect for the cold winter months.

According to the experts, one of the best soups that can be had to reduce cholesterol is a homemade lentil soup. It is important to bet on preparing food at home and avoid canned soups, on many occasions we usually buy them because they are affordable and easy to prepare. However, many of these canned options are full of sodium. It is well known that excess salt in the diet is one of the main triggers of heart disease and hypertension, finally when we talk about cardiovascular health everything is connected.

Homemade lentil soup not only helps control sodium intake in the daily diet. Lentils are a wonderful dietary addition to regulate cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Why are they so recommended? According to information released by the Heart Foundation, legumes, specifically lentils, are pure medicine and of the highest quality for heart health. In principle, they reduce the risk of heart attack and angina by 14%. And they improve cardiovascular health thanks to its power to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels (“bad” cholesterol) and contribute to weight control due to its fiber content and low fat content.

Lentils are rich in heart-healthy nutrients for many reasons, the main ones being their high potassium and fiber content. Two essential nutrients in the control of hypertension and cholesterol. In addition, preparing homemade lentil soup is the best ally to control the specific ingredients with which we cook and another worrying addition is highly processed meats. Usually commercial versions of lentil soup, they are distinguished by the use of sausages such as sausages and bacon; that together with sodium do not promote cardiovascular health. On the contrary, when making the soup at home we will have the opportunity to add abundant vegetables such as carrots and kale that enhance its fiber content and other essential nutrients. According to a study in Current Atherosclerosis Reports, processed meats can negatively affect cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. So one of the main rules to keep cholesterol levels low is to prepare lentil soup with plenty of vegetables and avoid using processed meats.

What are the benefits of lentil soup?

It is an ideal functional food, because apart from providing a high nutritional value, it has properties that reduce cardiovascular risk and prevent obesity, diabetes, constipation, diverticulitis and colon cancer, as well as helping to reduce the levels of cholesterol. For all these valuable reasons, the Spanish Heart Foundation recommends the consumption of between two and four weekly servings of legumes. The most important recommendation is to take care of the way they are prepared and the accompaniments, making sure that they do not have too much fat.

Cardioprotective properties of lentils:

– Low fat content.

– They contain carbohydrates of slow absorption (around 55%) and therefore, they are a food with a low glycemic index. Which is related to benefits for people with metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular risk or diabetes, since they help control glucose levels.

– High fiber content (11-25% of its content) that helps control cholesterol, since it prevents the absorption of saturated fats, improves intestinal transit and also prevents excessive absorption of carbohydrates.

– Extraordinary supply of antioxidants (polyphenols, phytosterols or isoflavones) that protect the endothelium and therefore prevent cardiovascular diseases.

– They are very rich in protein (17-25% of the total composition). In addition, they provide micronutrients, minerals (calcium, iron and magnesium) and B vitamins that help regulate internal metabolism.

So now you know, lentils are the ideal dietary addition; whether you’re whipping up a bowl of soup for a cozy evening or need to bring a batch to a holiday gathering. Cooking a hearty lentil soup with broth and vegetables can be a delicious way to control cholesterol on a daily basis and protect cardiovascular health. Best of all? Lentils are incredibly versatile and can be integrated into all kinds of soups, creams, ceviches, salads, and stews.

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