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The Power of Lentils: Boosting Mental Health Through a Nutritious Delight

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

In the quest for improved mental health, we often overlook the connection between our diet and emotional well-being. While many superfoods promise to be the key to a healthier mind, lentils stand out as a humble yet powerful option. These tiny legumes pack a punch in terms of nutritional value, making them an excellent addition to your diet. In this blog, we'll explore the mental health benefits of lentils and provide some delicious recipes to incorporate this wonder food into your meals.


The Nutritional Powerhouse:

Lentils are an excellent source of essential nutrients that contribute to overall mental well-being. They are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Specifically, lentils contain:

  1. Protein: Lentils are a valuable plant-based protein source, which is essential for maintaining a balanced mood and supporting neurotransmitter function in the brain.

  2. Fiber: The high fiber content in lentils aids in stabilising blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes, and promoting a sustained sense of well-being.

  3. Folate: This B-vitamin is vital for synthesising neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are crucial for regulating mood and emotions.

  4. Iron: Lentils provide a good amount of iron, which helps maintain energy levels and reduces fatigue, thus positively impacting mental alertness.

  5. Magnesium: Magnesium plays a vital role in calming the nervous system and reducing stress and anxiety.

Recommended Quantities:

To enjoy the mental health benefits of lentils, incorporating them into your diet in appropriate quantities is essential. The recommended serving size for lentils is around 1/2 cup (cooked) per day. This portion delivers a healthy dose of the nutrients mentioned above, supporting your mental well-being when combined with a balanced diet.

Delicious Lentil Recipes:

  1. Lentil and Vegetable Soup: Ingredients:

    • 1 cup lentils (red or green)

    • 4 cups vegetable broth

    • 1 onion, diced

    • 2 carrots, chopped

    • 2 celery stalks, chopped

    • 2 cloves garlic, minced

    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

    • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until softened.

  • Add garlic, cumin, and coriander, stirring for a minute.

  • Pour in the vegetable broth and lentils, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are tender.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy a hearty bowl of lentil and vegetable soup to nourish your mind and body.

  1. Mediterranean Lentil Salad: Ingredients:

    • 1 cup cooked lentils (brown or green)

    • 1 cucumber, diced

    • 1 red capsicum or red bell pepper, diced

    • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

    • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

    • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked lentils, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, and feta cheese.

  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.

  • Pour the dressing over the lentil mixture and toss until well combined. Serve chilled and savor the Mediterranean flavors that contribute to a happy mind.

Book Your Appointment:

Remember that while a healthy diet can significantly impact mental health, it should complement professional treatment when necessary. If you're struggling with mental health issues or have concerns about your well-being, it's essential to seek support from a Nutritionist, Counsellor or Mental health care professional. Take a proactive step towards improving your mental health by booking an appointment with me today.


  1. Jacka FN, O'Neil A, Opie R, et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the 'SMILES' trial). BMC Med. 2017;15(1):23. doi:10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y

  2. Wengreen HJ, Neilson C, Munger R, et al. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet and Change in Depressive Symptoms among Elderly Men and Women. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2019;38(1):1-12. doi:10.1080/21551197.2018.1558382

  3. Penninx BWJH, Guralnik JM, Bandeen-Roche K, et al. The protective effect of emotional vitality on adverse health outcomes in disabled older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000;48(11):1359-1366. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2000.tb02642.x

  4. "Lentils." The World's Healthiest Foods.

  5. "Magnesium in Diet." Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institutes of Health.

  6. "Iron Fact Sheet for Health Professionals." Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institutes of Health.

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