We are constantly reminded that we should eat beans, pulses and lentils but why exactly? Generally, it's because 'they're good for the heart' but there's more specific research now to suggest that eating a daily serving of cooked beans is linked with lower levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. That IS good news!
Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this month, researchers from the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto evaluated data collected from 26 clinical trials involving 1,037 men and women who were primarily middle-age. Some of the trials involved healthy adults, while others included participants who were at moderate risk for heart disease. They found an overall 5% reduction in LDL cholesterol with one serving of legumes a day over six weeks. They also found that beans seemed to help men more than women in lowering LDL levels. The researchers suggested this may be because the men had higher cholesterol levels or poorer diets to begin with.
So what are some of the other benefits of consuming beans?
- They are full of heart-healthy fibre and
- They are packed with plant protein rather than high-fat protein like some meats.
- They are full of antioxidants
- As they are so filling, they might displace other foods in the diet high in saturated fat
There are SO many beans, lentils and peas that we range and it's worth experimenting with some to see which ones you love most in your cooking like:
- Black Eyed Beans
- Black Beluga Lentils
- Black Turtle Beans
- Channa Dal
- Chickpeas (also known as Gabanzo Beans)
- French Green Lentils
- Split Green Peas
- Green Whole Lentils
- Kidney Beans
- Mung Beans
- Navy Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Red Split Lentils
That's alot of legumes! So how do we integrate them into a balanced healthy diet? They are a great way to add quick fibre to soups, salads, stews and chilli. They also make a great addition to pasta and ofcourse served as a side dish. Why not make your own Hummus (it's actually alot easier than you think!), White Bean Dip or even some delicious Black Bean Chocolate Chilli Cranberry Cookies (trust us, they're good!).