Lentils are a healthy superfood that comes with an extremely impressive profile of nutrients. Lentil when blended with another plant-based protein makes a complete source of protein that can be used as a healthy alternative for meat and animal foods. Lentil offers lots of dietary fibre and complex carbs, while it is low in calories and fat and high in protein providing 9 grams of protein per half-cup cooked serving. Aside from these, it also contains a good amount of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and B complex vitamins making it an essential staple food across the globe.

There are several different varieties of lentils such as brown, green, yellow, and red that deliver indispensable health benefits. Well, as healthy as they are, lentils are also known to cause some tummy issues like bloating and flatulence to be more specific. The presence of anti-nutrient compounds in lentils is the culprit behind gas or flatulence. The good news is that anti-nutrient in lentils can be easily deactivated by soaking them in water. Read this article to know about the many benefits of soaking lentils.

Also Read: Digestive Disorders: 7 Ways To Improve Gut Health
Lentils soaked in a bowl

Why Should You Soak Lentils?

Certain pulses have a natural drive of causing gas and bloating in the body. Soaking mimics the natural germination process and changes the seed that is dormant and indigestible into the dal laden with nutrients and complete digestibility. It works to neutralise the anti-nutrients and promotes the secretion of key digestive enzymes. Evidence has revealed that soaking and boiling foods that contain lectins and phytates can naturally neutralize these compounds and possibly lessen digestive issues.

Benefits of Soaking Lentils

Soaking lentils are known to enhance the rate of mineral absorption in the body. An enzyme phytase is activated when dal is soaked, that aids in breaking down phytic acid and helps in binding calcium, iron, and zinc and makes the absorption process easier. While it also triggers a compound called amylase that breaks down complex starch in lentils and makes them easy to digest.

Soaking naturally deactivates the harmful compounds and activates all the goodness of the seed and increases its nutritional value manifold.

The process of soaking removes the gas-causing elements from the lentils. While legumes contain complex oligosaccharides, a type of complex sugar responsible for bloating and gas. Post-soaking the complex sugar is remarkably reduced thereby easing gas troubles. Additionally, soaking also reduces the cooking time of lentils and legumes.

Also Read: Toor /Arhar Dal: 5 Nutritional Reasons On Why You Should Eat This Protein Rich Legume Daily

How To Soak Right?

Soaking lentils for two- eight hours is mostly recommended.

In a bowl add the dal and rinse it with water, changing the water 3-4 times and clean it gently by stroking with your fingers. Now add water to a bowl and soak the dal for about 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the type of lentil. Split dals can be soaked for 30 minutes or an hour, while whole pulses should be soaked for 2 hours.

Legumes, such as Rajma, chana, or chole, should be soaked for 8-12 hours before cooking or soaked overnight. The soaked water should be discarded as it includes tannins or phytic acid.

Remember to drain and refill the water when soaking beans and lentils. Ref-filling with fresh water twice during the soaking time helps to lessen gas and bloating.

Finally, drain the lentils, rinse it with fresh cold water before the cooking process.