Legumes -- including beans, lentils and peanuts -- make a healthful addition to any diet. Opting for sprouted lentils might offer more health benefits than boiled mature lentils, since the nutrient content of seeds increases as they sprout, explains Virginia Tech University. Incorporate lentil sprouts into your diet to boost your vitamin and mineral intake by adding them to sandwiches, wraps or salads.
Calories and Macronutrients
Sprouted lentils provide you with all three major macronutrients -- protein, fat and carbohydrate. A half-cup of the sprouts contains 3.5 grams of protein, which your body can use to maintain healthy tissues, including your bones, skin and hair. A serving of sprouted lentils also provides you with 7.5 grams of carbohydrates and slightly under 0.25 gram of total fat. Fats and carbohydrates serve as primary sources of energy for your cells.
Choosing sprouted lentils over regular cooked lentils might help you control your calorie intake. A half-cup serving of sprouted lentils contains just 41 calories, while an equivalent serving of boiled lentils provides 115 calories.
Zinc and Copper
Eating sprouted lentils provides you with zinc and copper. Zinc regulates enzyme activity, and plays a role in cell communication, hormone production and protecting your cells from dangerous free radicals. Copper keeps your connective tissues healthy, promotes nerve communication and allows you to make ATP, a source of fuel for your cells. Each half-cup of sprouted lentils contains 136 micrograms of copper, or 15 percent of adults' daily copper requirements. It also provides 0.6 milligrams of zinc -- 8 percent of the recommended daily zinc intake for women or 6 percent for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Sprouting lentils increases their vitamin C content. Mature lentils contain only a small amount of vitamin C -- 3 milligrams per serving -- while sprouted lentils offer 6.5 milligrams per half-cup. Vitamin C helps produce chemicals you need for brain function, supports your immune system and facilitates iron absorption from your food. A diet rich in vitamin C might also lower your risk of some types of cancer. Each half-cup of sprouted lentils provides 9 percent of the recommended daily allowance for women or 7 percent for men, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Lentil sprouts, while still a healthful addition to your diet, do have some nutritional drawbacks compared to mature lentils. A half-cup of sprouted lentils contains 1.3 milligrams of iron, while a half-cup serving of mature lentils offers slightly over 3 milligrams. Sprouted lentils also contain less potassium than mature lentils -- 124 milligrams per serving, compared to 365 milligrams. Increase your iron intake by pairing sprouted lentils with tofu, raisins, prunes or meat, and add potassium with sunflower seeds, lima beans or tomato.
- Virginia Tech: Sprouting Seeds For Food
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Lentils, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Lentils, Sprouted, Raw
- Linus Pauling Institute: Copper
- Linus Pauling Institute: Zinc
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- University of Utah Health Center: Finding the Right Mix of Carbs, Proteins, and Fats
- Linus Pauling Institute: Iron
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.