Lowering Cholesterol With Legumes
by Tim Lazaro
often rich in saturated fats, the small quantities of fats in legumes are mostly the
heart-friendly, unsaturated fats.
Not only are legumes excellent sources of essential minerals, they are rich in dietary
fiber and other phytochemicals that may affect health. Clinical trials have found that
increasing the consumption of dry beans resulted in modest (6-7%) decreases in
total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Dry beans are rich in soluble fiber, which is
known to lower cholesterol.
A study conducted to examine the effect of legume consumption on cardiovascular
disease risk found after 19 years of follow-up that men and women who ate dry
beans, peas, or peanuts at least four times weekly had a risk of coronary heart
disease (CHD) that was 21% lower than those who ate them less than once weekly.
Eating 3 cups (6 servings) of legumes weekly is recommended for people who
consume about 2000 calories per day. A serving of legumes is equal to ½ cup of
cooked beans, peas, lentils or tofu.
Dry beans are also good sources of potassium, and magnesium which may decrease
cardiovascular disease risk by lowering blood pressure.
Dry beans have a low glycemic index. This means that they are less likely to raise
blood glucose and insulin levels, which may also decrease cardiovascular disease risk.
The glycemic index is a measure of the potential for carbohydrates in different foods
to raise blood glucose levels. In general, consuming foods with high glycemic index
values causes blood glucose levels to rise more rapidly, causing a greater insulin
secretion by the pancreas than consuming foods with a low glycemic index.
High homocysteine blood levels are associated with increased cardiovascular disease
risk, and dry beans contain folate, which helps to lower homocysteine levels.
Dried beans and other large, legumes, such as chickpeas and black-eyed peas,
require soaking in water at room temperature, a step that rehydrates them for more
even cooking. Soak the legumes for about six to eight hours.
Another way to rehydrate beans is to place them in water and boil for two minutes.
Then cover and let the beans soak for an hour. Once rehydrated, the beans are
ready to cook.
Legumes can generate intestinal gas. Here are several ways to reduce the flatulence:
- Some of the gas-producing food particles get absorbed in the water so discard
the soaking water before cooking. Change the water several times during
soaking and cooking.
- Simmer beans slowly until they are tender. This makes them easier to digest.
- Add Beano to legume dishes to help reduce the amount of gas they produce.
For Beano to be effective, you need to take it with your first bite of food.
Legumes have several qualities that make them very helpful in lowering cholesterol
and preventing heart disease. They are cheap and in many cases may be eaten in
place of meat. When rehydrated in a proper fashion they may have their gas
producing properties lessened.
About The Author
Tim Lazaro is a competitive, masters runner who writes on issues related to health,
natural-food diets, and aerobic exercise. He employs the life-style changes and diets
that he writes about. He has lowered his total cholesterol and lost weight using these
cholesterol-lowering methods. Download his Free guide here: .
Legumes are plants with seed pods
that split into two halves. Beans,
peas, lentils, soybeans and peanuts
are some of the edible seeds from
plants in the legume family. Legumes
have very little fat. And, like all foods
from plant sources, legumes do not
contain cholesterol. They are also a
good source of soluble fiber, which
can lower blood cholesterol levels.
Legumes are inexpensive,
nutrient-dense sources (having many
vitamins and minerals) of plant
protein that can be substituted for
dietary animal protein. While meat is
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|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program.
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