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Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart

Half a cup of beans a day may drop one’s cholesterol 20 points.

August 30, 2010 |
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Transcript

As important as it is for us to eat our greens, we should also eat our beans. We've all heard about how good soybeans are for us, but what about the less exotic pinto bean? Half a cup of cooked pinto beans a day for two months means a 20 point drop in our cholesterol. New wonder drug? No, just pinto beans. Same with baked beans, half a cup of canned vegetarian baked beans a day for two months, navy beans this time, and the same amazing effect. There was a randomized cross over clinical study with a control group and the vegetarian baked bean treatment group. Of all the treatments we have in allopathic medicine: radiation treatments, chemotherapy. A vegetarian baked bean treatment sounds pretty benign. Imagine if there were a pill that could do that and go good with toast, they'd be making a fortune! Beans are after all one of natures most perfect foods, the whole plant in just one little package. Low in fat, no cholesterol, high in fiber and protein. So just like we can improve the nutrition of any dish by adding greens and other veggies, we can do the same by adding beans.

Another study this year showed some remarkable qualities about watermelon. A fruit once dismissed as being basically well, water. Now we realize it's a rich source of citruline, which we talked about in a previous year's review.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on beans and a blog about their gassiness: Clearing the Air. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk and Raisins vs. Energy Gels for Athletic Performance

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on beans and a blog about their gassiness: Clearing the Air. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/KarenHyde/ Karen Hyde

    Great except for the anti-social side effect :-D

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      I have a blog post coming up on just this very topic–stay tuned Karen!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      I just wrote a new piece Beans and Gas: Clearing the Air that, amidst the terrible puns, profiles a new study that suggests that people’s concerns about the gassiness of beans may be exaggerated.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

    I heard you stop flatulating as much after your bacteria in the intestines grow and develop to a point. I experienced it myself and eat beans regularly. I have stopped flatulating to the same extent.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      There are all sorts of ways to mediate this issue. Sorry to keep you in suspense, but thanks to both your and Karen’s comments I am going to write a special blog post on this very topic! In the meanwhile, keep eating your beans!

  • lovestobevegan

    An easy way to incorporate more pinto beans into your diet is with this delicious chili recipe.

    Roasted Root Vegetable Chili

    -1 large yellow onion, quartered
    -4 medium carrots, cut into ¼ inch thick rounds
    -4 medium parsnips, cut into ¼ inch thick rounds
    -1 large red onion, chopped
    -4 cloves garlic, minced
    -2 cups strained tomatoes
    -1 cup water
    -4 cups cooked pinto beans
    -2 tbsp chili powder
    -cayenne pepper to taste
    -1 tbsp basil
    -1 tbsp oregano
    -sea salt and black pepper

    Roast yellow onion, carrots, and parsnips dry (without oil) at 400°F in a pan, turning once, until softened, about 45 minutes. Heat the red onion, garlic, tomatoes, water, beans, chili powder, basil, oregano, black and cayenne pepper in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and
    simmer until onion translucent and beans thoroughly heated. When the roasted vegetables are tender, add them to the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes to combine flavours. Season to taste with sea salt.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Sounds delicious! Thank you so much. Anyone else have any good bean recipes?

    • Coacervate

      Thank you for this…I thought chilli was over for me. I didn’t like my old recipe when I simply left the hamburger out… but I finally got to make this and it is goooooood. One question, what is meant by strained tomatoes? I take it you’ve removed excess liquid but from canned or fresh or am I missing the whole point? I sure hope others who have found or created those really satisfying recipes will share too. I am making a list of a 10 or so “go to” meals.

      One reason I feel so fortunate for this is site..it keeps me focused. Unlike FOK, which is great but after a few weeks I would back slide and forget key points. But NFacts keeps me thinking low-fat vegan all the time.

      My wife invented the most fantastic pumpkin/split pea combo soup that we have at least twice a month.

      • lovestobevegan

        I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe! In order to avoid canned foods (thanks to this video http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bpa-plastic-and-male-sexual-dysfunction/ ) I buy tomatoes in glass jars. Almost all pasta sauces contain oil and/or sugar so I buy Bionaturae, Organic Stained Tomatoes (where the only ingredient is strained tomatoes). Of course fresh tomatoes or even salsa could be substituted. Happy cooking :-)

        In peace and good health,
        lovestobevegan

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725986334 Wendy Alfaro

    A good recipe to add more legumes to daily diet:

    Garbanzos and red beans over arugula salad

    Ingredients:

    1 cup of cooked garbanzo beans

    1 cup of cooked red beans

    1 cup of cashews soaked in water

    1/2 tablespoon of fresh rosemary

    2 cups of arugula

    1/2 cup of beet cubes

    1/4 cup of pistachios

    1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

    Pinch of salt

    Preparation:

    1. In the Vitamix, blend the cashews and fresh rosemary with some warm
    water until creamy.

    2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the beets)

    3. Add the cashew-rosemary dressing and mix well.

    4. Garnish with beet cubes.

  • Ronald Chavin

    Soybeans, green beans, sweet peas, chickpeas, lentils, fenugreek seeds, peanuts, clover sprouts, rooibos tea, honeybush tea, astragalus root powder, and all common beans are all extremely healthy-to-eat members of subfamily Faboideae (edible legumes) in family Fabaceae (legumes). Tocotrienol-rich annatto beans, which are not true legumes, are placed in family Bixaceae (legume-like):
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18175751

    Natto (because it is fermented), edamame (because raffinose has been bred out), tofu (because 90% of the fiber has been removed), unsweetened soymilk (because 90% of the fiber has been removed), clover sprouts (no starch), rooibos tea (no starch), and honeybush tea (no starch) will cause much less flatulence than whole soybeans or other high-starch beans.

  • Yaffa

    I have a question that none of my doctors can answer and I’m surprised that the medical community can’t find one. What causes autoimmune diseases? All my doctors can do is treat them.

    • yourfavoritephysicianassistant

      Hi Yaffa :) Thanks for your thoughtful question. The good Dr. Greger may have an answer for you. Check out this video http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/10/04/inflammation-diet-and-vitamin-s/ Hope it helps :)

    • Toxins

      It is hypothesized that this is in part due to a leaky gut in which a macro molecule (like protein) pasess through the gut wall for whatever reason. When it does, your body recognizes this macro molecule as an invader and attacks. This macro molecule may have a similar profile or structure to your own tissue which may cause an autoimmune response. This is the hypothesis anyway. You can see more regarding autoimmune diseases here.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/autoimmune-diseases/

  • mgibson

    Question about beans: Is there any reason to limit our use of beans/lentils? Is there such a thing as too much?

    Thank you so much.