Transcript: Beans, Beans, They’re Good For Your Heart
I’ve talked previously about the antidiabetic and antiobesity effects of various phytochemicals in beans, but there are protective effects on the cardiovascular system as well. Plant-specific compounds can have a remarkable impact on the health care system and may provide therapeutic health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of diseases and disorders. Antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory, liver protective, cholesterol-lowering, blood pressure lowering, as well as prevention of aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, DNA damage, heart diseases, 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. Here’s what they can do to cholesterol levels. Researchers took people on a diet high enough in fat to rival the cholesterol levels in the Western world, up around 206. Swapped in chickpeas for some of the grains they were eating, and in five months their cholesterol dropped about 20% to 160, almost down to the target, around 150. A reduction of more than 15% in most of the subjects, and its sustained action during long-term administration, not only indicate a definite benefit, but show that it is superior to many known cholesterol-lowering substances. In a randomized crossover trial, adding 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.
But I want to go back to the study, because they really buried the lead. The participants were started out on a low fat diet. Really low fat, and so their cholesterol started out at 123, well within the safe zone. Only after packing their diet with saturated fat were they able to boost their cholesterol up to typical American levels, which could them be ameliorated by adding chickpeas to their lousy new diet, but it’d be better if they just ate healthy in the first place, or even better healthy and hummus. A healthy diet with lots of legumes.
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 Katie Schloer.
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