Spinach Dal

We’ve talked about lentils before and how they are an excellent plant-based protein full of fiber and iron. Dark leafy greens, spinach in particular, are also a great source of iron. Iron is important in your body because it is a major component of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through your bloodstream.

There are two types of iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron comes from animal sources, and non-heme iron comes from plant sources, like spinach. Non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed as heme iron because our body must go through steps to convert it to heme iron after we eat it.  To help maximize your absorption of iron from dark leafy greens, add an acid to your dish, like a fresh squeeze of lemon juice or a vinegar-based dressing.  

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Lovely Lentil Loaf

February is Heart Health Month, and this is just the recipe to kick it off! This savory loaf is made from lentils and is packed with plant-based protein, fiber and many other vitamins and minerals.

Typically, a loaf would be made from ground beef and can be high in saturated fat, which has been shown to increase our total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol. Cholesterol has an important role in our bodies, but too much can build up in our arteries causing plaques to form. The buildup plaque causes our arteries to stiffen and narrow, restricting blood flow.

Even small adjustments like switching from an 80/20 ground beef to the leaner 90/10 or 95/5 is beneficial. However, with plant-based recipes, not only is there the benefit of little to no saturated fat, but there is also a ton of fiber. Fiber binds to excess cholesterol and removes from our bodies, helping us maintain a healthy balance.  Lentils are also very high in iron, an important nutrient we often get from red meats. Iron is found in many plant-based foods, particularly lentils, beans, legumes and dark leafy greens.

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