Role of lentils (Lens culinaris L.) in human health and nutrition: a review

Abstract

Humans have known lentils (Lens culinaris L.) since the dawn of civilization. The current work is a comprehensive review of lentils composition, nutritional value, and health benefits. The article addresses major proteins identified in lentils and their bioactive peptides, including lectins, defensins, and protease inhibitors. In addition, this review discusses the complex carbohydrate fractions in lentils, particularly the resistant starches, oligosaccharides, and dietary fibers with emphasis on their biomedical properties. Also, the current review discusses minerals and vitamins as well as the non-nutritive bioactive phytochemicals of lentils which add to the promising potential for clinical applications in the management and prophylaxis of several chronic human illnesses. The article finds out that various potential health benefits have been described for lentils such as anticarcinogenic, blood pressure-lowering, hypocholesterolemic and glycemic load-lowering effects. The proposed mechanisms behind each health benefit are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks are due to Dr. Mohamed Labib Salem/Department of Zoology, Tanta University/Egypt for his many helpful suggestions and comments. Thanks are due to Dr Omar Al-Haj at Department of Nutrition and Food Technology/King Saud University, and Mrs. Noor Hamed at Department of Nutrition/Petra University for their assistance in proofreading and editing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mo’ez Al-Islam Ezzat Faris.

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Faris, M.A.E., Takruri, H.R. & Issa, A.Y. Role of lentils (Lens culinaris L.) in human health and nutrition: a review. Mediterr J Nutr Metab 6, 3–16 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12349-012-0109-8

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Keywords

  • Lentils (Lens culinaris L.)
  • Functional foods
  • Nutritional value
  • Health
  • Polyphenols
  • Bioactive peptides