Lentil and Kale: Complementary Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources to Combat Micronutrient and Calorie Malnutrition

Nutrients. 2015 Nov 11;7(11):9285-98. doi: 10.3390/nu7115471.


Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) is a nutritious food and a staple for millions of people. Not only are lentils a good source of energy, they also contain a range of micronutrients and prebiotic carbohydrates. Kale (Brassica oleracea v. acephala) has been considered as a health food, but its full range of benefits and composition has not been extensively studied. Recent studies suggest that foods are enrich in prebiotic carbohydrates and dietary fiber that can potentially reduce risks of non-communicable diseases, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Lentil and kale added to a cereal-based diet would enhance intakes of essential minerals and vitamins to combat micronutrient malnutrition. This review provides an overview of lentil and kale as a complementary nutrient-rich whole food source to combat global malnutrition and calorie issues. In addition, prebiotic carbohydrate profiles and the genetic potential of these crops for further micronutrient enrichment are briefly discussed with respect to developing sustainable and nutritious food systems.

Keywords: biofortification; kale; lentils; micronutrient malnutrition; obesity; prebiotic carbohydrates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Humans
  • Lens Plant / chemistry*
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Micronutrients / analysis
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Prebiotics / administration & dosage
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / diet therapy*


  • Micronutrients
  • Prebiotics