Quinoa vs Lentils – Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects


This pseudo-grain has origins that date back about 5,000 years to the Bolivians of Lake Titicaca. The Incas called it ”chisaya mama” (literally translating as “mother of grains”) since they depended heavily on it for survival.

FAO has designated it as a “super crop” because of the crop’s resilient capacity to grow under all types of conditions, plus, for its potential to feed people across the world.

Nutrition Facts

With a remarkable nutrient profile, this grain is a good source of manganese, vitamin E, calcium, vitamin B1, potassium, vitamin B2, phosphorus, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin B9, iron, copper, zinc, and selenium.

Health Benefits

Good For Type 2 Diabetics

It is a good source of magnesium, an essential mineral for the human body’s capacity to deal with insulin and sugar (glucose). Moreover, this mineral gives bones flexibility, keeps them from becoming brittle, as well as it relaxes muscles and nerves by lowering inflammation.

A deficiency in magnesium has been linked with heart disease, therefore, regular consumption of this grain will keep your heart healthy. Lastly, this essential mineral will help keep calcium in your cells so they can do their function better.

Heart Health

Kaempferol and quercetin are two flavonoids found in this pseudo-grain and according to research, they have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-depressant, and anti-viral effects.

Also, due to its capacity to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, quercetin seems to be beneficial for patients with cardiovascular and heart disorders.

Complete Protein Source

Complete proteins are those foods that provide all of the essential amino acids required by the human body. This grain is most noted for its high amount of lysine, an essential amino acid involved in tissue repair and growth.

Also, a high-protein diet increases satiety, helping you eat fewer calories, which ultimately leads to faster weight loss.

Boosts Energy Levels

Vitamin B2, also referred to as riboflavin, can help break down the fats and carbohydrates. Furthermore, vitamin B2 is required to regulate proper adrenal function and thyroid activity as well as it helps the transportation of the much-needed oxygen to the cells.

Mental Health

Like other B vitamins, folate (also known as vitamin B9) has an essential role in lowering high levels of homocysteine in the blood.

This is quite beneficial, especially for individuals suffering from dementia (they have the highest levels of homocysteine), according to recent research.

Side Effects

There are no known side effects.


It is believed that these legumes have their origins in central Asia. Dating back more than 9,000 years, they are thought to be one of the first foods to have ever been cultivated.

These nutritious legumes are easy and quick to prepare compared with kidney beans, plus, their low cost makes them an accessible form of complete protein for numerous people worldwide.

Nutrition Facts

They are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, vitamin K, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, sodium, folate, zinc, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, calcium, choline, selenium, and magnesium.

Health Benefits

A few studies have demonstrated that the regular consumption of lentils is strongly associated with the reduction in the incidence of diseases, like – obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers due to its bioactive compounds. Here are some of lentils benefits:

Weight Loss

These legumes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which actually means they make you feel full by absorbing water and expanding in the stomach.

A regular diet that includes plenty of dietary fiber can promote digestive system health, regulate bowel movements, and may considerably reduce the risk of breast, colon, esophageal, and throat cancer.

Prevents Iron Anemia

According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency anemia is considered the most common nutritional disorder in the United States and worldwide. These legumes are an excellent source of iron, an essential mineral, that is involved in the production of enzymes, hemoglobin, and red blood cells as well as the metabolization of proteins.

Moreover, this mineral is required for muscle movement since it helps to store the much-needed oxygen in muscles which allows them to move.

Tip – insufficient intake of foods rich in vitamin C can contribute to iron deficiency because vitamin C is required to absorb non-heme iron, the type of iron that is only found in plant-based foods.

Reduces Anxiety

These beans are a source of essential amino acids, such as – lysine and isoleucine. Lysine has a crucial role in the proper function of the immune system, particularly in the development of antibodies.

Isoleucine is required for nitrogen balance in adults and for the optimal growth of infants.

Regulates Blood Sugar

They are low on the glycemic index, which actually means that they digest slowly without causing blood sugar to spike. This is most likely due to their high dietary fiber and protein content.

Side Effects

There are no known side effects if you cook these legumes properly to reduce their lectin content.

Quinoa vs Lentils – Which Have A Better Nutritional Profile?

Both should be included in your regular diet, however, lentils are superior due to their higher content of dietary fiber, protein, folate, and iron.

Featured image credit – Shutterstock

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