Lentils Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

In this article, you can learn about lentils' health benefits and nutritional facts.
Jyothi Shenoy, MD, MBA

Written by Jyothi Shenoy, MD, MBA. Updated on December 4, 2022.

Lentils are a type of legume that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Although the fiber content per 100 grams is lower than that of other legumes, it is still an excellent source of fiber.

They contain no cholesterol or sodium. Additionally, they are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They can meet 50% of daily protein requirements with a single 100-gram serving.

Additionally, lentils are an excellent source of folate. It can meet more than the daily folate requirement in a single serving. Also, it is rich in vitamins B1 and B5.

Copper, which prevents the formation of diseases such as Alzheimer’s by enhancing nerve functions, and zinc, which aids in insulin secretion, are abundant in this food.

Similar to other legumes, lentils are an excellent source of vitamins B9 and B1. You may want to prioritize this nutrient to improve your diet quality.

Lentils Quick Nutrition Facts

Here's a quick nutrition overview for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of lentils:

  • Energy: 352 calories
  • Carbs: 63.4 grams
  • Sugar: 2.03 grams
  • Fiber: 10.7 grams
  • Protein: 24.6 grams
  • Fat: 1.06 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0.154 grams

Jump to a section where you can learn more about lentils nutrition value, including macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, protein quality, and more.

Health Benefits of Lentils

Thanks to a significant amount of specific vitamins and minerals, lentils could provide several health benefits.

Continue reading to discover the potential benefits of consuming lentils.

They May Improve the Availability of Iron

Vitamin B9 or folate works closely with other nutrients, especially vitamin B12, and helps the body make red blood cells by improving the availability of iron.

It plays a key role in cellular division. It can regulate the processes involved in cell division.

This can reduce the risk of cancer that can occur due to the uninhibited division of cells resulting in the formation of a large number of cells that fail to mature completely.

It also aids in the production of the body’s genetic material, such as DNA and RNA. It is especially important to ensure that the body is not deprived of this nutrient when tissues and organs are growing rapidly, such as during pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence.

Vitamin B9 plays a key role during pregnancy by regulating the replication of DNA and RNA, thereby supporting the proper growth and development of the fetus.

It can also help in the normal growth and development of children.

They May Aid Removal of Unwanted Waste Material From the Body

The primary function of phosphorus is linked to the formation of teeth and bones.

Phosphorus also helps to remove unwanted waste material from the body, thus reducing the toxic overload and cleansing the blood. This can restore healthy bodily functions and reduce the risk of several diseases.

This can help sustain the normal activities of the body and improve general health.

It also plays a role in regulating the utilization of carbohydrates and fats in the body, thus ensuring a steady supply of fuel to the cells.

It can improve glycemic control in patients with diabetes and reduce the risk of complications.

Phosphorus is also needed for the synthesis of proteins, which form the building blocks of the tissues of the body.

This effect of phosphorus can support the growth and development of the body’s organs.

It can also improve the maintenance and repair of the organs by accelerating the healing of the tissues damaged due to free radicals, inflammation, toxic exposure, and age-related degenerative changes.

They May Improve Nerve Functions

Copper is needed for the optimal functioning of the nervous system. It can improve mood by regulating the balance of hormones in the brain.

It can also support nerve functions and improve the transmission of signals between different parts of the body.

Copper can keep the nerve cells healthy and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It is also needed by the body for several functions, including the formation of red blood cells.

Copper can support the defense mechanisms of the immune system involved in infection prevention.

It also helps in the formation of collagen, a protein that makes up our skin, bones, and other tissues. It protects the cells from damage and improves the absorption of iron in the body, thereby increasing the availability of this vital nutrient.

Copper is also needed for regulating carbohydrate metabolism. It can help to convert sugar into a usable form of energy, thus ensuring the body receives a steady supply of fuel to perform its critical functions.

They May Help With Diabetes Management

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine can help release sugar from the fats stored in the body to meet the need for energy supply in the future.

This action of vitamin B6 can be beneficial in the management of diabetes.

It can regulate the amount of fat that can be converted into a usable form of energy, especially in the absence of a ready supply of carbohydrates from dietary sources.

This can ensure the body receives a steady supply of glucose, which is its primary source of fuel and protect patients against serious complications of diabetes.

Vitamin B6 can also help in the formation of red blood cells and, thus, improve the bodily functions involved in the transportation of oxygen in the form of oxyhemoglobin.

Vitamin B6 is important for the normal development of the brain in children. It can also keep the immune system and nervous system healthy and, thus, reduce the risk of several diseases.

They May Lower the Risk of Autoimmune Disorders

Manganese is an integral part of the body’s antioxidant mechanisms. It helps in the synthesis of an enzyme called superoxide dismutase, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and prevents oxidative stress linked to the high risk of cancer, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes.

It is a vital nutrient that helps in the formation of connective tissue, blood clotting factors, bones, and reproductive hormones.

Manganese also supports the metabolism of fat and carbohydrate and enhances calcium absorption. It can help with blood sugar regulation, thereby improving glycemic control in patients with diabetes.

It is also needed for normal nerve and brain function. When combined with other nutrients like calcium and zinc, manganese can support the bone formation processes and improve bone mineral density.

This is especially important for postmenopausal women and older men who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis due to the decline in bone mineral density.

It can also reduce inflammation and hence, can be useful as a potential therapeutic agent for the management of inflammatory disorders such as osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

May Aid Muscles Growth

Zinc is one of the important minerals involved in the growth and development of organs, tissues, and muscles.

It is also needed for maintaining normal immune functions. Zinc also helps in the production of the active form of vitamin A and the transportation of this nutrient around the body.

Zinc is necessary for the activities of more than 300 enzymes, which take part in the metabolic processes, digestion, and nerve function.

It is fundamental to DNA synthesis, skin health, and protein production.

Zinc can support the secretion of reproductive enzymes, especially testosterone, thus improving sperm count and sperm motility in men.

It can promote muscle growth, act as an antioxidant, reduce inflammation, and protect against chronic conditions such as cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes.

Zinc is known for its role in the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels and insulin secretion.

These functions of zinc can help in the effective control of diabetes and reduce the risk of related complications.

May Aid Certain Hormones Secretion

The body also needs iron to secrete some hormones. It is needed for the normal growth and development of the body.

It is an important mineral involved in several bodily functions, including the supply of energy to the cells and the transport of oxygen to the tissues through the bloodstream.

Our body uses this mineral to make hemoglobin, a form of protein in red blood cells, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all the organs and tissues of the body.

It also helps in the formation of myoglobin, another protein that carries oxygen to the muscles.

It also helps the immune system function more effectively, thus preventing infections due to bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Iron helps to support energy production at the cellular level. It can ensure the body receives a steady supply of fuel, thus allowing you to feel fresh and energetic and maintain focus.

It can also support digestive processes, thus improving the absorption of nutrients in the gut.

Lentils Nutrition Facts

Continue reading to find out the following lentils nutrition information:

  • Macronutrients
  • Vitamin Content
  • Mineral Content
  • Amino Acid Profile
  • Fat Breakdown
  • Carbohydrate Breakdown


Macronutrients, often called macros, are most commonly used term when it comes to eating a healthy diet or losing weight. There are three types of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Macronutrients provide energy to your body and allows it to function properly. The following table contains the information on lentils macronutrients, while reading further will give you a better understanding on each of these macronutrients.

Carbohydrate21% DV63.4 g
Protein49% DV24.6 g
Fat1% DV1.06 g

Vitamin Content

Lentils are excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.

Here's the full lentils vitamin content per 100g:

Vitamin A1% DV39 IU
Vitamin C5% DV4.5 mg
Vitamin D0% DV0 µg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)73% DV0.873 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)16% DV0.211 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)16% DV2.6 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)43% DV2.14 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)32% DV0.54 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)120% DV479 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)0% DV0 µg
Vitamin E3% DV0.49 mg
Vitamin K4% DV5 µg

Mineral Content

Lentils are excellent source of Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc.

They also contain a good amount of Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

Here's the full lentils mineral content per 100g:

Calcium3% DV35 mg
Copper84% DV0.754 mg
Fluoride0% DV0 mg
Iron36% DV6.51 mg
Magnesium11% DV47 mg
Manganese60% DV1.39 mg
Phosphorus22% DV281 mg
Potassium14% DV677 mg
Selenium0% DV0.1 μg
Sodium0% DV6 mg
Zinc30% DV3.27 mg

Protein and Amino Acid Profile

Lentils contain 24.6 g of protein per 100 g, or in other words, lentils provide 6.99 g of protein per 100 kcal.

Similarly to most other plant proteins, protein in lentils contain all nine essential amino acids, however, they are a little bit low in methionine.

Histidine OK92% DV0.693 g
Isoleucine OK71% DV1.06 g
Leucine OK61% DV1.79 g
Lysine OK76% DV1.72 g
Methionine Low19% DV0.21 g
Phenylalanine OK81% DV1.22 g
Threonine OK77% DV0.882 g
Tryptophan OK74% DV0.221 g
Valine OK63% DV1.22 g

Fat Breakdown

Around 3% of the calories in lentils are from fat. Lentils have 1.06 grams or 1% of recommended daily values per 100g.

Saturated fat and trans fat can increase cholesterol levels and increase the heart disease risk.

Lentils fat content mostly consists of healthy unsaturated fats.

According to FDA, dietary cholesterol should be kept below 300 mg per day. Luckily, lentils is cholesterol free.

Lentils do not contain trans fats. Trans fats should be kept as low as possible.

Total Fat1% DV1.06 g
Saturated Fat1% DV0.154 g
Monounsaturated Fatdo not have a %DV0.193 g
Polyunsaturated Fatdo not have a %DV0.526 g
Trans Fatsdo not have a %DV0 g
Cholesterol0% DV0 mg

Carbohydrate Breakdown

72% of the calories in lentils come from carbohydrates.

Carbs in lentils are mostly starch (80%), followed by fiber and sugars.

When it comes to sugars, lentils are relatively low in sugar, containing grams of sugar per 100g.

Total Carbohydrate23% DV63.4 g
Dietary Fiber38% DV10.7 g
Sugars4% DV2.03 g

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