Lentil soup - replenish your iron stores!

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Lentils are a member of the legume family containing excellent amounts of minerals, B-vitamins, fiber and protein. Lentils are a great source of iron. Women ages 18 - 50 are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency which is a common cause of fatigue. One cup of cooked lentils will provide 37% of your daily iron needs. One cup of lentils also contain 18 grams of protein just enough to replace meat so it is an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans or if you just desire a meatless meal. Lentils are also a good source of copper, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, zinc, potassium, vitamins B1 and B6 and are an excellent source of folate (one cup provides 90% of daily folate needs). So, what does this mean for your health? Lentils will help lower cholesterol, they will prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after meals providing steady energy. They will keep your heart healthy thanks to not only the fiber but also the significant amounts of folate, magnesium and potassium. Lentils have cancer fighting properties thanks to selenium and fiber. Selenium prevents inflammation, improves immune system and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Fiber is associated with a lowered risk of colon cancer.

I think that it's enough reasons to eat lentils! This soup recipe is very simple and quick to make and in our household it is also kid- friendly so I usually make a lot to have for other times as well. It actually tastes better the second or third day.

Ingredients

2 cups of lentils

1 small onion or 1/2 of a medium one

2 garlic cloves

3 bay leaves

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of cooking oil

1 1/2 quarts of water 12 cups (1 1/2 liters)

1 organic low sodium vegetable bouillon cube

Instructions

Soak lentils in water overnight or for about 1 hour covered in hot water. Soaking will shorten the cooking time and will also reduce gas-producing effects. When ready, drain the water and give it a good rinse. In a soup pot, heat the cooking oil, add finely chopped onion and minced garlic and let it saute for a while. Add lentils, water, salt and pepper and vegetable bouillon cube. Sometime I don't put the bouillon as I find that the lentils have enough flavor by themselves. Place bay leaves on top and bring it to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed.