Why Are Lentils and Beans A Good Choice For Bodybuilders?

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Lentils are one of the best plant protein sources. Most non-vegetarian people focus on eggs and chicken. But including a part of plant proteins in your diet can further build your nutritious quotient. We decode how.

Lentils For Bodybuilding
Lentils are said to be triple treats. They are rich in fibre, protein, and low-impact, slow-releasing carbohydrates. There are 3 main varieties of lentils – red, green, and brown. People who want to lose weight yet want that punch of protein in their diet; lentils are their best bets. One can cook up so many recipes and add vegetables and even meat to make a delicious meal. The best part about eating lentils is that they are rich in micronutrients and have zero fat and cholesterol. 
One cup lentils contain 18g of protein, which contributes to 36% of your daily intake. You can eat cooked/ boiled lentil or have a bowl of lentil soup as a late night snack. It would provide protein and is a great guilt-free snack. 
Lentils are also rich in insoluble fibre which is great for bowel movements. So if you’re someone who complains of constipation, then you must increase your intake of lentils. They are a rich source of iron. One cup lentils provide 36% of daily iron intake in women and 87% daily iron intake in men.

Do Bodybuilders Need To Eat Lentils?
Yes, a bodybuilder should definitely eat lentils. You can add them to stews and soups, boil them and make salads with veggies and chicken, or they can be cooked in the form of curries and had with brown rice for a wholesome meal. 
Major benefits of lentils are that they have zero fat and cholesterol and are high in protein and carbohydrates. Adding them to your daily meal will add a lot of nutrients and a good dose of plant protein as well.

Are Lentils Good For Weight Loss?
Research shows that eating lentils helps in weight loss. Including different kinds of lentils and beans in your diet helps control weight without reducing your overall calorie intake. When talking about weight loss, hunger pangs and cravings are two of the most dreadful enemies. Lentils increase the feeling of fullness when eaten as a part of a meal. They also make you feel fuller for longer, thereby making you feel less hungry for the next meal. As a result, you eat less in the following meal and the number of calories consumed is reduced. They also suppress your appetite and aid in weight loss.

The other benefit of lentils is that they are a low-glycemic food, which means they help keep your blood sugar levels stable. This is indeed crucial for steering off cravings.

Lentils for bodybuilding

Image Source – The Natural Penguin

Are Lentils High In Carbs Or Proteins? 
Lentils are a great source of protein. Many people stay clear off lentils thinking that they are high carbohydrate foods. But you’ll be surprised to know that you can enjoy lentils even when you’re on a low-carb diet. This is because the carbohydrates present in lentils are in the form of fibre, which passes through your system undigested. Half cup lentils contain 20g carbohydrates and 8g fibre. Since 8g of fibre will not get digested, your body gets only 12g carbohydrates.

Are Chickpeas Good To Eat? 
Chickpeas (chane or chole), kidney beans (rajma), black chickpeas (kala chana) - there are so many options available when it comes to lentils. You can cook them in form of a thin soup or soak them overnight for a delicious take on a regular salad. Make sure you alternate between these sources to get the desired nutrition. Find out more about chickpeas nutrition and chickpeas benefits. 
Chickpeas nutrition 
One cup of cooked chickpeas contains –

  • 269 calories 
  • 13g dietary fibre 
  • 45g carbohydrate 
  • 15g protein 
  • 4g fat 
  • 0g cholesterol 

Benefits Of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans. They are a good source of protein, carbohydrate, and vitamins. Apart from being great for muscle building, chickpeas have numerous other benefits for your health. 

  • Helps control Diabetes - Chickpeas are high in fibre and are beneficial for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes should consume a high fibre diet to lower blood glucose levels. For people affected by type 2 diabetes consuming a high fibre diet will not just reduce blood glucose levels, it will also improve lipid and insulin levels.
  • Good for bone health - Chickpeas are rich in nutrients like – calcium, phosphate, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, and vitamin K. All these contribute to building and maintaining your bone health. Manganese, iron, and zinc play a pivotal role in collagen production. Vitamin K is needed for calcium to be absorbed into the bones. Phosphate and calcium are building blocks for good bone health. 
  • Maintains heart health - Chickpeas are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. All these help maintain your cardiovascular health. The high fibre content in chickpeas also helps lower cholesterol levels which in turn reduces the risk of clots and heart damage. 
  • Help in digestion - The high amount of fibre in chickpeas makes them good for digestion. They also prevent constipation and promote regularity of a healthy digestive system. 
  • Weight management - If you want to maintain your weight, it is important to cut down on in between meal snacking and binge eating. Consuming foods that make you feel fuller for longer would be greatly beneficial. Chickpeas are loaded with dietary fibre and increase satiety. This makes you feel fuller for longer and also reduces appetite. You tend to not binge eat and the overall calorie intake is lowered. Various studies have also shown that taking plant protein sources like chickpeas to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and help in weight management as well. 

After knowing all these benefits, you wouldn’t have to ask are chickpeas good for you. Indeed they are high in carbohydrates and protein and good for your health. 

Do Red Kidney Beans Help You Lose Weight? 
For a Punjabi, rajma chawal is first love. But do you know that red kidney beans are great for your health! Find out more about kidney beans protein content, benefits of kidney beans, and red kidney beans nutrition.

Red kidney Beans Nutrition
One cup of cooked kidney beans contains –

  • 219 calories 
  • 39.7g carbohydrates 
  • 16.2g protein 
  • 0.2g fat 16.5g fibre 
Red kidney beans nutrition

Image Source –Food To Live

Benefits Of Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans are a favourite of many. You can eat them with rice, add them to tacos, or make a healthy salad. Apart from being rich in nutrients that make these a great choice for bodybuilders, kidney beans have various other benefits for your overall health. 

  • Lower cholesterol and risk of heart diseases - Consuming kidney beans help in controlling bad cholesterol levels and elevates the level of good cholesterol in your body. These beans are rich in fiber and potassium, both these nutrients are known to regulate blood pressure levels. 
  • Help control blood sugar  - Various studies show that kidney beans lower insulin and fasting blood sugar, also help stabilize blood sugar levels. 
  • Aids in weight loss - Kidney beans are a very good source of protein. Consuming them with veggies will make you feel fuller for longer and lower your overall calorie intake. Alpha-amylase inhibitors are present in beans and grains. These inhibitors are also present in kidney beans are helpful in weight management. 

Chickpeas Salad 
Eating lentils or beans the normal way can be quite boring. To get the nutrients from these plant protein sources you can whip up an easy salad recipe. Combine your favorite lentil or beans with veggies, toss them all in dressing and enjoy a healthy snack bowl. 

Chickpeas Salad

Image Source – Inspired Taste

Ingredients –

  • 1 avocado 
  • 2 cups chopped  tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped cucumber 
  • 2 cups chopped onion 
  • ½ cup chopped coriander 
  • 2 cup boiled chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers 
  • ½ lemon 

For Dressing –

  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp chat masala powder 
  • Black pepper powder 
  • Salt 

Method –

  • In a bowl chop avocado and squeeze fresh lime juice on it. 
  • Add rest of the ingredients – onions, bell peppers, tomato, cucumber, and chickpeas. Toss gently 
    (You can replace chickpeas with boiled lentils, red kidney beans, or kala chana as well. if you’re non-vegetarian, you can add boiled chicken or boiled egg to add more protein.)
  • In another bowl mix all the ingredients of the dressing. Drizzle the dressing on the veggies and chickpeas mixture. 
  • Mix well, garnish with coriander leaves. Refrigerate for an hour and serve chilled. 

Now you know why your mom insists on cooking lentils at least once a day. That being said, there are also various supplements which you can add to your diet. Whey Protein is one way to get your daily requirement of protein fulfilled, as easy as it can get. 

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