A recent study has found that consuming a daily portion of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can help combat ‘bad cholesterol’ and the risk of developing cardiovascular conditions.
The study, led by Dr. John Sievenpiper of the hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, was published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Dr. Sievenpiper said that by eating one serving a day of pulses, people could lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by five per cent. He said that would translate into a five to six per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
One serving of pulses is 130 grams or ¾ cup, yet North Americans on average eat less than half a serving a day. Pulses have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly) and tend to reduce or displace animal protein as well as “bad” fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal.
“We have a lot of room in our diets for increasing our pulse intake to derive the cardiovascular benefits,” Dr. Sievenpiper said. “Pulses already play a role in many traditional cuisines, including Mediterranean and South Asian. As an added bonus, they’re inexpensive. Since many pulses are grown in North America, it’s also an opportunity to buy and eat locally and support our farmers.“