Life Extension Magazine®

Wooden bowl of lentils that may control blood sugar levels


Lentils are remarkably nutritious legumes. They help control weight, stabilize blood sugar, promote healthy gut bacteria, and lower LDL cholesterol.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in August 2023. Written by: Garry Messick.

What you need to know

From managing weight and controlling blood sugar to promoting healthy gut bacteria and reducing cholesterol, lentils make an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Lentils are seeds that grow in pods, and are a part of the legume family of foods, which also includes peanuts, beans, peas, and chickpeas. They come in a variety of shapes and colors and are a staple in the cuisine of Asia and the Middle East. Often eaten in soups, salads, and stews, lentils are a remarkably nutritious food and it’s a good idea to include them in a healthy diet regimen due to their numerous health benefits. For instance…

Weight Management

Lentils are a good food for weight-loss, because they are abundant in soluble fiber, which helps satisfy hunger and keeps you feeling full.

Research has consistently found a link between high consumption of pulses (seeds, including lentils) and healthy body weight. Pulse intake is inversely related to obesity risk and a high body mass index.1

Blood Sugar

The fiber content also helps stabilize blood glucose levels by slowing absorption of carbohydrates, as well as promoting regularity and keeping constipation and irritable bowel syndrome at bay.2,3

Gut Bacteria

Moreover, the soluble fiber provided by lentils helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria that are essential for the digestive tract.3

Black, brown, and green lentils are the varieties that provide the most fiber, because they come with intact husks.

Cholesterol Reduction

A review of 26 US and Canadian studies that included a total of more than 1,000 subjects found that a three-quarter-cup serving of legumes such as lentils was linked to a significant 5% reduction in LDL cholesterol.4

Doctors such as internist Robert Graham, MD, have expressed enthusiasm for the results.

“By making a small dietary change, such as consuming one serving a day of beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas—as most of the world does already—we can make a modest risk reduction in our incidence of heart disease by lowering our ‘bad cholesterol’ LDL, especially in men,”5 said Dr. Graham.


  1. Adv Nutr. 2010;1(1):17-30.
  2. J Food Sci Technol. 2015;52(2):633-47.
  3. Int J Mol Med. 2017;40(3):607-13.
  4. Cmaj. 2014;186(8):E252-62.
  5. Available at: Accessed November 10, 2017.