Spilling the Beans on Good Foods we should Indulge in More - March 2016

Beans

The anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects of various phytonutrients in beans is one reason to eat more, but beans have protective effects on the cardiovascular system as well.

As one academic review suggested, plant-specific compounds can have a remarkable impact on the health care system and may provide therapeutic health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases and disorders. Plants have antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory effects, protect our livers, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help prevent aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, DNA damage, heart disease and other disorders. Those without legumes in their daily diet, for example, may be at quadruple the odds of suffering high blood pressure.

Legumes such as chickpeas have been used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes for thousands of years. And they can also lower cholesterol levels. Researchers placed people in Northern India on high fat diets to raise their cholesterol levels up to that of the Western world (up around 206 mg/dL) and swapped in chickpeas for some of the grains they were eating. In five months, their cholesterol levels dropped to about 160, almost to the target of around 150. Cholesterol was reduced more than 15 percent in most of the subjects. In a randomized crossover trial, two servings a day of lentils, chickpeas, beans, or split peas cut cholesterol levels so much that many participants moved below the range for which statin drugs are typically prescribed.

If you think you eat a fairly healthy diet, kick it up a notch by eating less meat and more legumes.

- NutritionFacts.org

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