Eating more lentils and other legumes (beans and peas) may lower the risk of diabetes, according to an analysis from the Spanish PREDIMED study in the journal Clinical Nutrition. It included more than 3,300 people at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Those who consumed the most legumes (equal to about three servings a week)—and lentils in particular—had a 35 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over four years, compared with those who consumed the least.
Legumes, a source of both protein and carbohydrates, have a low glycemic index and are rich in various nutrients and other compounds, such as potassium, magnesium, polyphenols, and fiber, that are associated with improved glucose metabolism and reduced diabetes risk.
The researchers suggested eating at least half a serving of legumes a day in place of half a serving of other carbohydrate-rich foods (like bread and rice) or protein foods (like eggs).
Also see Lentils: Full of Fiber and Folate.