Nutritional value and health benefits
With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, aftersoybeans and hemp.Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world, especially in West Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which have large vegetarianpopulations. Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cysteine.

Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%). Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice or small pasta, which results in a complete protein dish.

Lentils also have some anti-nutritional factors, such as trypsin inhibitors and relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bio-availability of dietary minerals. The phytates can be reduced by soaking the lentils in warm water overnight.
Lentils are a good source of iron.