Dr Amir shares benefits of lentils for gut health
In the UK, bowel cancer is the fourth most common form of the disease but the second most deadly- accounting for 10 percent of all cancer deaths. While it is not always known what causes the disease to develop, there are certain factors known to raise or lower your risk. Diet is one such factor, with certain foods believed to increase your chances of disease and others to decrease your chances.
According to ITV mainstay health expert Dr Amir Khan, lentils are a food that could protect against not just bowel cancer but all cancers generally.
Speaking on the Lorraine show today (April 28) he shared his recipe for a quick microwaved lentil curry – also known as a daal.
“Let’s talk about lentils,” he said. “Now, people are a bit nervous about lentils because we don’t cook them as often as we should, but I want to change all of that.
“I want to make lentils fashionable again. The lentil revolution starts here.”
Health benefits of lentils
Dr Amir explained: “Now, in terms of protecting us against bowel cancer, lentils are full of prebiotic fibre, which is good for our gut health.
“But not only that they are packed full of antioxidants and flavonoids, which reduce our risk of cancer overall.
“But their goodness doesn’t stop there. They’ve also got folic acid and potassium, which is good for our blood pressure and heart health.
“And if we’re trying to reduce our intake of red meat, we need to replace that with plant proteins and that is what lentils are full of.”
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How to make a lentil curry
“Now I’m going to make one of my favourite dishes, a daal or lentil curry,” he said. “But the cheat here is I’m going to use the microwave to cook the lentils.
“So firstly, rinse your lentils in some water. I leave them to soak for about half an hour in water, it just gets rid of that dust that’s on them.
“Now, it’s time to add the spice. Dash of chilli powder. Some salt. Then gorgeous turmeric. That puts a beautiful yellow colour into it and one teaspoon of shop bought garlic and ginger paste.
“Once that’s in, it’s time to add the water. Give it a good stir. And that is most of the cooking done, just needs to go in the microwave.
“That goes in for 15 minutes. For some added flavour I’m going to cook a little garnish for it. Heat up a pan with a bit of olive oil.
“In goes a finely chopped red onion. We’re just going to brown those onions up a little bit and then add my favourite ingredient, cumin seeds.
“No curry is complete without cumin seeds. About a teaspoon full, stir them in. That smell just hits you straight away. Popping cooking cumin seeds and fried onions.
“Now that little garnish is done and it’s time to take the daal out of the microwave.
“Give it a good stir. You just want to let that rest for about five minutes. And the good thing about this dish is that it’s full of plant proteins.
“Now this is my secret ingredient just to give it that extra bit of tanginess, the juice of a lime.
“Stir that in. And then finally, add the garnish. In that goes. Now, this is starting to look like traditional daal, You wouldn’t know it’s been cooked in the microwave.
“I’m serving this daal with some brown rice. Just smells delicious. So, let’s give it a go. Oh my God, that is packed full of flavours and so healthy.”
According to the NHS, symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
- Needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
- Blood in your poo, which may look red or black
- Bleeding from your bottom
- Often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
- Tummy pain
- Losing weight without trying
- Feeling very tired for no reason.
If you experience any symptoms of bowel cancer you should see your GP.
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