You may have seen these tiny, free-floating aquatic plants growing naturally on a pond, marsh, or slow-moving stream. And they may just be turning up on a dinner plate near you! Water lentils, also known as duckweed or bayroot, are vying for credibility as a plant-based protein.
Water lentils are a rapidly growing aquatic plant that thrives in open water. Due to their high turnover rate (water lentils can double every 16-32 hours), they can be harvested daily and year-round.
Okay, I’m intrigued but what does it taste like?
Water lentils when ground into a protein, have a sweet mild plant flavor and a leafy organic odor. It is a flavor similar to watercress or spinach. Unlike normal lentils, water lentils are grown hydroponically (in nutrient-rich water rather than in soil) which gives them their unique flavor profile.
According to a Florida-based food startup called Parabel, they have developed a protein powder made from water lentils that they believe has the potential to be “the world’s most nutritionally complete and sustainable food source.” They produce this protein powder by growing water lentils in a massive aquafarm. They then grind the lentils into a powder which is marketed as a plant-based protein powder called Lentein.
Lentein powder contains 45% protein, about the same amount as most soy-based protein powders. Parabel’s powder can be mixed into smoothies, water, or be used to make homemade protein bars.
Nutritionally speaking, water lentils have an amino acid profile superior to other plant-based protein sources and similar to whey protein, a by-product of cheese production.
Water Lentils: A Superfood Contender?
Parabel’s water lentil protein concentrate contains 68 percent protein, nearly double that in 1 cup of lentils. Per serving, Lemna flour, or flour made from water lentils, contains 7 grams dietary fiber, with 100 percent daily value (DV) iron, 25 percent DV calcium, 20 percent DV magnesium, and 10 percent DV phosphorus.
To put this into perspective – you would need to consume 16 times the amount of regular lentils to eat the same quantity of fiber, eat 3 cups of cooked spinach to consume the same amount of iron and 3 cups of regular lentils to consume the same amount of calcium. These claims would in fact, make water lentils a superfood contender!
We’re super curious so we’re giving it a try. We’ll let you know how it goes! Have you tried LENTEIN Plus Protein Concentrate? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!