Eat lentils with rice or cereals to create a complete protein.

Lentils aren’t a complete protein, as they lack of the essential amino acid methionine! We should eat lentils with foods containing methionine to create a complete protein!

Nutritional value

Lentils are particularly high in nutrients. Above all, lentils are high in protein and fiber. Additionally, lentils are an excellent source of iron and zinc. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency.

So, eating lentils regularly can help you increase your iron levels. Eating foods high in iron increases your energy levels. When you’re more active, you burn more calories. Hence, you lose weight without even dieting!

cooked 100g
brown rice,
cooked 100g
wheat flour
protein (g)92,739,6
carbs (g)19,525,474,5
fiber (g)7,91,613,1
iron (mg)3,30,563,7
phosphorus (mg)180102323
potassium (mg)36986394
zinc (mg)1,270,712,96
selenium (mcg)2,85,812,7
Nutritional value of lentils, rice & wheat flour.[1]

Moreover, lentils are particularly high in fiber. Fiber keeps you full for a long time. So, you consume fewer total calories in a day! The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 28g per a 2,000 calorie diet. A serving of lentils can provide up to 64% DV (Daily Value).

Above all, lentils are low in calories. Just 100g of cooked lentils contain only 114 calories. Especially, lentils and fava beans are pretty low in calories, but high in protein and fiber. Hence, these beans are good for weight loss!

Furthermore, combining lentils with rice and other whole-grains is good for our health, losing weight, and building muscle mass.

Prefer brown or wild rice. It’s higher in protein, fiber, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and many more, as compared to white rice.

Lentils aren’t a complete protein

Although beans and legumes are high in protein, they aren’t a complete protein. Proteins are made of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. Above all, we need to take 9 essential amino acids from food, as the human body can’t synthesize them.

Lentils aren’t a complete protein. Although, raw lentils are 25% protein, most lentil varieties don’t contain adequate amounts of methionine, which is an essential amino acid.[2] So, we should combine lentils with foods high in methionine in order to eat a complete protein.

Furthermore, you should prefer red lentils. They’re richer in protein, and they’ve a better amino profile. Split red lentils are richer in essential amino acids than green lentils. Unfortunately, both lentil varieties don’t contain adequate amounts of methionine. Therefore, we should consume lentils with foods containing methionine.

green lentils,
cooked g/100g
split red lentils,
cooked g/100g
Amino acid profile of lentils.

Especially, athletes who want to build muscle mass, need to consume foods with complete protein.

Combine lentils with rice or cereals to create a complete protein

Traditionally, people combine lentils with rice, or whole-wheat bread, in order to create a complete protein.

Above all, lentils (as most beans) are high in lysine. On the contrary, rice, wheat, and most cereals don’t contain adequate amounts of lysine. Combining lentils with rice and whole-grain bread creates a complete protein.

brown rice, cooked
wheat bread
Amino acid profile of rice & wheat bread.[3,4]

Besides lentils, you could consume other beans, such as chickpeas and fava beans with rice and whole wheat bread to have a meal with high quality plant-based protein.

Furthermore, you could add nutrient-dense vegetable like kale to your lentil recipes. Kale is among the richest vegetables in protein. But, it lacks of lysine and leucine.

Eat foods high in methionine to create a complete protein

Certainly, even consuming rice with lentils and wheat bread won’t create the best possible protein, as none of these foods is a good source of the essential amino acid methionine.

We should combine lentils with foods high in methionine to make a complete and high-quality protein. Most people need about 10 mg of methionine per kg of body weight.[5] Therefore, a 70 kg person requires about 0.7g of methionine a day.

Plant-based foods rich in methionine are pumpkin seeds (2.34g per 100g), sesame seeds (1.6g), Brazil nuts (1.1g), hemp seeds (0.9g), soy protein (0.8g), chia seeds (0.6g), oats (0.3g), peanuts (0.3g), buckwheat (0.29g), and chickpeas (0.25g).[6]

Practically, you better prepare lentils with chia seeds, instead of rice. They’re high in methionine. Also, chia seeds are a complete protein! They contain all 9 essential amino acids. Furthermore, chia seeds are among the best plant-based sources of omega-3s. Omega-3s are vital for good metabolism and even for building muscle mass!

Furthermore, try to eat pumpkins and sesame seeds with lentils. These seeds contain high amounts of methionine! Just 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds contains 0.17g of methionine! Pumpkins seeds are complete protein as well. You should consume them regularly, if you want to maintain or even build muscle mass.

Do lentils have protein to built muscle mass?

Lentils are particularly high in lysine. Lysine is also an essential amino acid. Hence, lysine is necessary for muscle growth and good metabolism. We need about 30 mg of lysine per kg of body weight.[5] Hence, a 70 kg person needs about 2.1g of lysine a day.

Lentils are an excellent source of lysine. Just 100g of cooked lentils contain about 0.81g of lysine. On the contrary, most cereals are pretty low in lysine. Therefore, eating lentils with rice, or whole-grain bread creates complete protein, promoting muscle growth and improving metabolism!

Most noteworthy, protein in lentils is easily digestible. Analytically, protein digestibility for green lentils is 87.9 and for split red lentils is 90.6. For comparison, casein which is a high-quality protein of milk has digestibility of 96.59. Most plant-based proteins have a much lower digestibility score, such as 70.

Foods that are a complete protein

We need to take all 9 essential amino acids from food, in order, to have a good metabolism, build muscle mass, or maintain lean body mass while dieting.

Firstly, all foods from animal sources are complete protein. But, we shouldn’t depend on animal sources for protein. Foods from animal sources are high in saturated fat and calories. Also, they lack of many vitamins, such as vitamin C. Furthermore, they’re low in antioxidants and fiber.

Eating plant-based is good for you. But, you should consume a variety of foods, in order, to consume adequate amounts of all 9 essential amino acids. Most plant-based foods aren’t a complete protein. In most cases, they lack at least 1 essential amino acid. For instance, lentils don’t have sufficient amounts of the essential amino acid methionine.

Luckily, there are a few plant-based foods containing complete protein. Buckwheat, chia seedshemp seedspumpkin seedsquinoa, barley, spirulina, and amaranth are all a complete plant-based protein!

Try to eat them regularly. Especially, if you want to lose weight or build muscle mass.

You can eat lentils even before bedtime. Lentils may improve night sleep.