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Increased Lifespan From Beans

The intake of legumes—beans, chickpeas, split peas, and lentils—may be the single most important dietary predictor of a long lifespan, but what about concerns about intestinal gas?

October 28, 2013 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

I. Darmadi-Blackberry, M. Wahlqvist, A. Kouris-Blazos, et al. Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(2):217-20.

W. Chang, M. Wahlqvist, H. Chang, C. Hsu, M. Lee, W. Wang, C. Hsiung. A bean-free diet increases the risk of all-cause mortality among Taiwanese women: The role of the metabolic syndrome. Public Health Nutr 2012 15(4):663 - 672.

S. J. Nechuta, B. J. Caan, W. Y. Chen, W. Lu, Z. Chen, M. L. Kwan, S. W. Flatt, Y. Zheng, W. Zheng, J. P. Pierce, X. O. Shu. Soy food intake after diagnosis of breast cancer and survival: An in-depth analysis of combined evidence from cohort studies of US and Chinese women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2012 96(1):123 - 132.

S. M. Krebs-Smith, P. M. Guenther, A. F. Subar, S. I. Kirkpatrick, K. W. Dodd. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. J. Nutr. 2010 140(10):1832 - 1838.

S. E. Fleming, A. U. O'Donnell, J. A. Perman. Influence of frequent and long-term bean consumption on colonic function and fermentation. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1985 41(5):909 - 918.

M. Zanovec, C. O'Neil, T. Nicklas. Comparison of Nutrient Density and Nutrient-to-Cost between Cooked and Canned Beans. Food and Nutrition Sciences 2011 2(NA):66-73.

Y. Zhang, H. Kang, B. Li, R. Zhang. Positive effects of soy isoflavone food on survival of breast cancer patients in China. Asian Pac. J. Cancer Prev. 2012 13(2):479 - 482.

D. M. Winham, A. M. Hutchins. Perceptions of flatulence from bean consumption among adults in 3 feeding studies. Nutr J 2011 10(NA):128.

H. M. Spiro. Fat, foreboding, and flatulence. Ann. Intern. Med. 1999 130(4-Pt-1):320 - 322.

R. Sandler, N. Zorich, T. Filloon, H. Wiseman. Gastrointestinal Symptoms in 3181 Volunteers Ingesting Snack Foods Containing Olestra or Triglycerides. Ann Intern Med. 1999 130(NA):253-261.

Anderson, J.W. 1997. Estimated Values for Isoflavone Content of Selected Soyfoods*. American Dietetic Association 80th Annual Meeting and Exhibition.

Acknowledgements

Transcript

Legumes may be the most important predictor of survival in older people from around the globe. They looked at five different cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece, and Australia. Of all the food factors they looked at, only one was associated with a longer lifespan across the board: legume intake. Whether it was the Japanese eating their soy, the swedes eating their brown beans and peas, or those in the Mediterranean eating lentils, chickpeas, and white beans, only for legume intake was the result plausible, consistent, and statistically significant from the data across all the populations combined. We're talking an 8% reduction in risk of death for every 20 gram increase in daily legume intake. That's just like two tablespoons worth! So if a can of beans is 250 grams and you get 8% lower mortality for every 20 grams, maybe if you eat a can a day you'll live forever? Let's find out!

If you want to increase your lifespan, eat beans. If, however, you're suicidal and want to decrease your lifespan, “A Bean-Free Diet May Increase the Risk of Death.”

So having arrived at the one dietary fountain of youth, what's the #1 reason people aren't clamoring for them? Fear of flatulence.

So is that the choice we're left with? Breaking wind or… breaking down? Passing gas or passing on? Turns out that people’s concerns about excessive flatulence from eating beans may be exaggerated.

Add a half-cup of beans every day to people's diets for months and what happens? What's the number one symptom? Nothing. The vast majority of people experienced no symptoms at all, though a few percent did report increased flatulence, so it may occur in some individuals but not all people are affected. Even among those that were, 70% or more of the participants who experienced flatulence felt that it dissipated—no pun intended—by the second or third week of bean consumption, so we’ve just got to stick with it.

And you know a small percentage reported increased flatulence on the control diet without any beans. People have preconceived notions about beans such that just the expectation of flatulence from eating beans may influence their perceptions of having gas. They didn't actually measure farts in this study, they just ask people what their perception of the amount of gas they had was, and we know from previous studies that you give someone a product labeled to contain something that may cause intestinal distress, it causes more intestinal distress whether it actually contains that ingredient or not. " In other words… just thinking they were eating it caused digestive distress, or the perception of it, to a proportion of persons.

So people thinking beans are going to cause gas may just be more likely to notice the gas they normally have. Either way it tends to go away. After a few weeks of daily bean consumption, people perceive that flatulence occurrence returns to normal levels.

In this other study where they added more than a half a cup of kidney beans to people's daily diets the research subjects reported that the discomfort they initially felt within the first day or two of adding beans quickly disappeared, so again stick with it.

Bottom line—no pun in tended: An increasing body of research and the latest Dietary Guidelines supports the benefits of a plant-based diet, and legumes specifically, in the reduction of chronic disease risks. In some people it may result in more flatulence initially, however, doctors should emphasize that it will decrease over time if we just keep it up and the nutritional attributes of beans in the diet outweighs the potential for transitory discomfort. The long-term health benefits of bean consumption are great. And indeed eating beans in the long term may make your term—on earth--even longer.

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 Ariel Levitsky.

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

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

I’ve previously covered intestinal gas in one of my more amusing blog posts, Beans and Gas: Clearing the Air.

The paleo folks often rail against legumes and grains, but how do they account for the fact that epidemiological studies clearly show legumes and whole grains are among the healthiest choices?

More on bean benefits (beanifits?) in videos such as:

What about soybeans and breast cancer? Stay tuned for my next video, BRCA Breast Cancer Genes and Soy.

For more context check out my blog: Top 10 Most Popular Videos from 2013

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • Roger

    I’ve noticed that whenever you talk about beans, you always mention CANS of beans. I’m pretty sure that in most of the countries you mention above, eating beans from a can is a little strange.

    I live in Brazil, where beans are a staple, and was talking to a house cleaner the other day who was really interested in the American diet. She nearly threw up when I told her that we rarely eat beans in the US, and when we do, they come from cans.

    I think most people focused on a plant-based diet will/should frown on eating from cans when there is a suitable alternative. Are there any studies on canned vs dried beans? In the video about the best way to cook vegetables, you showed a study stating that using a pressure cooker is not the best way to prepare vegetables, is this true with legumes also?

    Thanks for all of your hard work!

    • Toxins

      Its funny you mention that, stay tuned, because Dr. Greger will dig into canned vs dried beans in the next couple videos!

    • Daniel Wagle

      I always use dried beans, mainly because they seem to be a much better value for the money, than canned.

    • Darryl

      The usual objection to canned beans is the high sodium content. Mostly unmentioned is the fact that as canned beans are pressure cooked, they have a higher glycemic index than home slow-cooked beans. The resultant higher insulin surges can have negative effects on serum cholesterol, weight control (and weight control by diabetics on vegan diets), and perhaps cancer risk (1, 2).

      While even canned beans have rather low-glycemic indices compared to white bread or baked potatoes, it seems prudent to to lower glycemic indices where feasible. And beans from the slow cooker just have a nicer texture. I admit to pressure cooking beans weekly (I don’t wan’t to live forever while waiting hours for meals), but I’m also venturing into the slow-cooker realm for beans when I plan ahead.

    • me

      I generally have some beans with most meals…in salads and in soups. I usually use canned. I would cook dried beans but have an issue with the NEED to look for the stones that are always in with the beans….one broken tooth is going to pay for a boatload of beans.
      Damned cans are so convenient. Wish the food companies would pack them in glass and with low sodium though.
      Still trying to get my animal protein reduced….beans are a good sub…at least taste-wise.
      Looks like I’ll live forever….

    • Thea

      Roger: Thanks for the bit of international perspective. Very interesting.

      Personally, I think that eating canned beans is like the difference between eating conventional vs organic fruits and veggies. If it is the difference between whether or not you will eat the food, then by all means, choose the less desirable option. You still come out ahead in terms of health risks. In other words, if you are looking at eating canned beans vs none at all, good grief, eat the canned!

      For me, convenience is a huge factor. I love my pressure cooker and I think that pressure cooked beans taste far superior to canned. But I also appreciated the convenience of canned and there are plenty of times when convenience wins out. That’s just my personal take.

      Thanks for starting this conversation.

    • deeaja

      theres the lining-of-can with BPA issue

  • elsie blanche

    Are you concerned about the high temperatures and drastically longer cooking times required to cook canned beans while in the can? The cooking process of canned beans vs. stovetop seems to be night and day. And are you concerned about the BPA-alternatives?

    How about possible leaching of the steal from the cans and or the aluminum from the cans? I am assuming these cans are not as “strong” as actual pots and pans we cook beans with at home. Have there been any studies that have measured the amount of “non-bean” ingredients (metals from can/pan, chemicals, etc. of regular stovetop vs. canned?

    • Toxins

      Stay tuned, Dr. Greger covers canned vs. dried beans in then ext few videos.

    • Paul Fassa

      If you soak the beans overnight, the cooking time is greatly reduced. So is are the negative “anti-nutrients” of legumes. Besides, buying dried bulk beans is cheaper, and they can be stored with a long shelf life also.

  • Jo Ann Ivey

    Great video! I eat beans, often a whole can, every day. The Eden Organic No Added Salt Beans have low sodium, a BPA free can, and Kombu added which raises iodine intake. Dr. Gregor, I love your videos, follow your advice, and hope one of these days you’ll address the NMR lipid profile, specifically LDL-P.

    • Veganrunner
      • Humzee

        Why did you post this? It seems off topic. This article/video by Dr. Greger is about beans. Beans are not even mentioned in the study you posted… just wondering…

    • Humzee

      I was relying heavily on Eden canned beans until I researched the seaweed Kombu. Great source of natural MSG (in fact it is the original source from which MSG was first isolated). Since I was having lots of troubles with irregular heartbeats, I had to dig deeper into the food facts of the foods I was eating. Other aspects of canned beans raised more questions: Were the beans pre-soaked to reduce the phytate content? Does cooking the beans “in the can” increase the metal content of the beans? I have since stopped eating Eden beans and have been preparing my beans at home from bulk.

      I appreciate that the cans were BPA free, but the canned beans still were not as wholesome (IMHO) as beans cooked from beans that are pre-soaked. Convenient, yes. As good as home cooked, no. And the home cooked beans are much cheaper and you know exactly what you are eating and how they have been prepared. And it is much easier than I thought to prepare them.

      • Veganrunner

        Hi Humzee, I posted the study for Jo Ann. She was asking about LDL and I think it does a good job.

        • Humzee

          Yes I saw the significance of your post after I reread Jo Ann’s original post. I tried to delete my post but you saw it before I could delete. Thanks for the post.

      • Toxins

        There is really no issue with dried and cooked beans vs canned beans as long as the sodium is low. Dr. Greger will get into this in an upcoming video.

        • Humzee

          Thanks for your opinion. If you are referring to Dr. Greger’s video #17 on DVD Volume 15, I have already watched it, and in my opinion his presentation does not get a passing grade for several reasons which I don’t have time to go into right now as I have to leave. I will continue this entry when I get home later…

        • Humzee

          From Humzee (can’t seem to log in under my name):
          Thank you for the two links to the “safety” of MSG. I know folks have to put their faith in some source for reliable information, but the indiscriminate dependence on “scientific research” is dangerous given the long history of “science” being subverted by private/commericial interests.

          “It is obvious that the FDA has been captured by the chief MSG manufacturer, the Ajinomoto company, the food industries, and their public relations organization, The Glutamate Association. By producing a multitude of spurious studies purportedly showing that MSG is safe as a food additive they can say with impunity, ‘The weight of the scientific evidence demonstrates that MSG is safe for human consumption’”. – Russell Blaylock, M.D. (board-certified neurosurgeon), from “Excitotoxins, The Taste That Kills,” p. 56.

          In just one example Dr. Olney (who has done experiments showing the harmfulness of MSG) points out how a Dr. W. A. Reynolds published a report claiming that MSG fed to infant monkeys showed no toxic effects to the infant brains, contrary to the studies by Dr. Olney. Further investigation revealed that the researchers failed to report that the MSG was frequently vomited before it could be absorbed, that the monkeys were under anesthesia with a powerful glutamate receptor antagonist (phencyclidine), and that the areas of the brain shown in micrographs were areas of the hypothalamus known to be unaffected by glutamate.

          I find it objectionable and borderline “worthless” when studies are used in presentations such as Dr. Greger’s without a listing or reference so that conscientious seekers can check the validity of the research being quoted. I like the way Dr. Greger occasionally shows the actual research documents he is referring to so that some of the material he presents can be checked. In the MSG studies linked above, this is not the case. The studies are “blurred out” and it is not possible to check the sources of this information. I would recommend showing the entire document in a series of frames so that the studies could be evaluated by the reader. It would not add that much to the total time of the clips.

          I don’t have time to go into my objections to the bean video at this time. It takes a lot of time to document and list references for my statements…something perhaps Dr. Greger and NF Team members might do more of… I know it would increase their credibility in my eyes, and I suspect I am not the only one that feels this way.

          • Thea

            Humzee: Interesting info. about that research. Thanks for sharing.

            From your comment, I’m not sure if you noticed that there is a “sources cited” section under each video. You have to expand it, but all the studies referenced in the videos should be in that section – especially in the more recent videos.

            Hope that helps.

    • deeaja

      I think there are waxed boxes that some cooked beans come it – cant remember the brand off-hand. To avoid the BPA issue

  • Derrek

    Canned beans add salt and preservatives so I try to stay away from them. How many cups (0.5, 1) would you recommend daily? What is the maximal amount to extend your life?

    • Thea

      Derrek,

      It’s true that most canned beans add salt, but not all of them. If you want to keep some cans around for bean emergencies, you can look for the salt-free versions. (Eden is one such brand. And their cans also include a good source of iodine in the liquid.)

      Just an FYI.

  • Brian

    Thank you! I worry about many of my friends who have bought into the paleo theory of eliminating grains and legumes.

    • Toxins

      There is not a single study showing beans are harmful. Many paleo people try to point to the phytic acid (which actually doubles as an antioxidant), trypsin inhibitors and other antinutrients as reasons to eliminate legumes. They fail to mention that cooking, soaking, or sprouting will eliminate these antinutrients altogether and this is fairly well established nutrition klnowledge. Seeing that most people consume cooked beans, I don’t see the issue.

      • Ellen

        Is there a minimum soaking and cooking time to ensure that antinutrients are eliminated?

        • Toxins

          Typically, dried beans cannot be consumed unless soaked and then cooked, or else they will still be hard. Cooking till soft suffices.

    • Mekaylah

      I drank the paleo juice as a new type 1 diabetic looking for answers. i was ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED to eat ANY carbs for the first two years I had been dx’d. Diagnosed for 30 and a big believer in nutrition, it made sense to me to not eat carbs for maintaining health. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why it was so hard to keep doing my endurance biking, trail running, and mma. Then I met a great health coach that put it into perspective for me. I still need carbs, maybe not that many. My pancreas is broken, I drive stick shift and everyone else has automatic. I am enjoying fruit, beans, and some grains after avoiding them all for 2 years. I still haven’t reached for cake and cookies though. I also converted myself to a mostly plant based diet with yogurt at breakfast and wild caught salmon twice a week. I’m loving it and I am finally having stability in my BGs and losing weight!

      • Untoured

        Pardon my general ignorance, but a newly diagnosed type *1* diabetic? Do you have any references for how that occurs in general, or the cause of the diabetes in your particular case? I was under the impression that this doesn’t really occur at all, so it seems like I might have the potential to learn something new here.

        • Mekaylah

          it’s called LADA. you can google it. i don’t think anyone really knows what causes it. basically it is autoimmune like type 1, but it doesn’t usually affect people until they are 30 years or older. hope that helps.

          • Untoured

            Thanks. That’s a pretty scary metabolic shift. Hope things feel better for you now.

          • Mekaylah

            Thanks, every day is a learning experience. It has helped me decide to go back to school to pursue a degree in nutrition myself. It’s interesting what the body can decide to turn on and maybe off depending on what we eat. That being said, to know that I am a diabetic has answered so many questions about the way I felt after eating things in the past. I remembered thinking there was something special in the orange juice the teachers gave us as kids before tests. Turns out I probably felt weird because of my blood sugar. HA!

  • Brian

    “The paleo folks often rail against legumes and grains, but how do they account for the fact that epidemiological studies clearly show legumes and whole grains are among the healthiest choices?” Well, I will tell you. The Paleo people have talking points for these types of questions. The one I usually get is the usual extreme: that scientific research cannot be trusted because everyone tends to bias their research or is being funded (also often misinterpreted as “paid”) to bias results.

    • Mekaylah

      +1, it’s always their argument. never mind that all the people in the paleo-sphere have something to sell themselves. n=1 is a good concept that they also use a lot…..

  • Adrien

    To bean or not to bean :) Maybe, I’ll switch my strawberrie for a bean.

  • Dan

    That was a lovely video, thanks Dr Greger!

    For the type 1 diabetic worried about the effects of beans on blood sugar, kabuli black chick peas have far more fibre and far less starch than regular white chick peas. They are also incredibly delicious. You can buy them in any Indian, Pakistani, or South Asian grocery store, or in Middle Eastern stores. What I do is soak them overnight in about three inches of cold water, leaving them out on the counter, and then simmer them for 45 minutes after first bringing to a boil (leave the lid on all the way through). I have substituted kabuli black chick peas (also called Chana Black, or Desi) for many dishes requiring beans. From my reading online of a physician’s blog on type 1 diabetes, they lead to much fewer swings in blood sugar control. Also David Jenkins published a trial showing significant reductions in A1c burden with addition of legumes to the diet of type 2 diabetics. So rock on with your beans!

    • Mekaylah

      totally not afraid of beans! i have them daily! :)

      • Dan

        Very pleased for you. My brother has LADA and requires insulin as well as BP meds, but he is not a vegan. A very low calorie diet can completely reverse type 2 diabetes, but not LADA, unless the latter is complicated by obesity.

  • MagicalBeans

    While I love beans, I find that even after many years as a whole foods vegan, most of the varieties cause me a great deal of digestive issues and I find that yes, flatulence is a problem (no matter what method I use to prepare beans). I’ve now reduced my bean consumption and am feeling much healthier and my stomach issues are gone. I was eating 3-4 servings/day and having issues, but now eating 1 serving a day or 2-3 servings of tofu and find I have no issues. Is there any research about digestive effects relative to quantity ingested?

  • Pete Johnston

    Canned beans? Are you kidding me? I cook all types from dried organic, all it takes is time. I am not a great cook and have a limited amount of patience but beans are so easy! Forget fancy recipes, for Pinto Beans (my favorite), cook like rice, stirring progressively more frequently. I start with an onion sauteed in olive oil and then add 3 times water to beans. Takes three hours from boil. Easy to freeze and so yummy.

    • Toxins

      As you will see in an upcoming video, low sodium canned beans vs regularly prepared beans have very little differences in terms of nutrition.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    “Passing gas or passing on” I will consider flatulence a benign side effect for life extension…

  • li

    I just put some beans (unmashed) into a cake batter (rolled oats, mashed bannana, oatmilk, apple, vinegar etc) and was quite pleased with the result. Thinking to sneak them into other cookie, cake, pancake recipes.
    Wonderful videos- helps to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  • Linda

    I have learned to add “Fennell Seeds” when I cook dishes with beans. Fennell seeds help decrease the gas. I also make “Fennell Tea” to relieve discomfort from gas. In India they chew “Fennell Candy” after meals for this. I have heard that adding “Baking Soda” while cooking beans also decreases the gas. Linda.

  • Ignatius Turchi

    What about bean sprouts. I take a product which has garbanzo bean and adzuki bean sprouts. I have read that sprouts have a higher concentration of nutrients than the plant. This is certainly true when it comes to sulfuraphane in broccoli sprouts relative to broccoli.

  • Jim

    Dr. I have been diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, A-Fib and A Flutter. What can I do…Please

  • faangface

    what i wonder is if there’s a difference between daily intake or a few times a week intake. keeping fresh beans going everyday seems pretty labor intensive for me. i’ve made cake from adzuki beans but figure this doesn’t count – then again i feared putting ground flax in baked goods didn’t count but Dr. Greger mentioned indeed it remained nutritionally sound. i’d be able to guess better if Dr. Greger said exactly what it was about legumes…

  • Aaron Hollander

    The flatulence issue is due to the increased fiber pushing through your system. Once your system is running at optimal levels it dissipates.

    • jazzfeed

      Yes. I would imagine it’s your gut flora “evolving” from the probiotics in the legume fiber. What I would do, If I rarely ate beans wanted to start, would be to take a probiotic daily for awhile when introducing beans. As the gut adjusts and builds new flora, taper off the supplemental probiotic to individual maintenance level.

  • lgking

    This is good news. Been a ‘beaner’ for many years. I make a 1 lb. pot of beans for the family every 3 days to go with our brown rice as the base for our dinners. The balance is topped with various raw ‘veg de jour’. Anything from a can, bottle, package, box, wrapper, or container…is processed food.

    And…No Oil…!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_o4YBQPKtQ

  • Leo S.

    Dr. Veith has an interesting discussion on types of gas at 1:10:20 in the following link. You might go back a few minutes for more discussion.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGR0bnxKCW4&list=PLD4F9A9FEAA5E5842&index=1

    • Leo S.
      • Untoured

        Or go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0GI9IBK6Zw
        That may show a little bit about the degree of Veith’s intellectual honesty when it comes to subjects that are emotionally charged by his religion.

        Veith is a creationist, and while he apparently has a doctorate in zoology from the University of Cape Town, he’s not specifically an expert in human nutrition. The creationism shows a willingness to distort science to support a dogmatic worldview, the lack of focused expert training suggests that he would be less likely to be speaking from genuine authority in the subject of human nutrition, and his Seventh-Day Adventism suggests that he has fairly powerful religious preconceptions about human health and nutrition that he will be motivated to cling to and serve.

        I don’t doubt that I could learn many things from him, and the video clip that was suggested is interesting, but because I’d have to check his facts and inferences extra carefully, and because the lectures don’t do a particularly good job of citing primary source material, the learning process would likely be much less efficient.

      • Flora

        That is a VERY good video… along with others by Walter Veith (I watched about 6 of his videos in the Life at Its Best series as well as one entitled “clean and unclean” by him).

  • Leo S.

    For gas go to 1:10:20 in the following link:
    301–Life at its Best

  • deborahconner

    And so what about phytate?

    • Toxins

      Phytate is not only an antioxidant, but it is eliminated with cooking, sprouting or soaking so this is a non issue.

      • Dan

        Not only that, but phytates do not affect nutrients in other foods that they are combined with. In other words, if there is any phytic acid or phytates in a food like beans, it is only bound to certain constituents in the bean itself, not to the other foods the beans are prepared with. I think people miss this major but subtle point.

        • Toxins

          Dan, I am interested in the evidence for that statement. I had no idea this was the case, can you please share the referenced study? Please know I ask not because I doubt it, but because I like to have proof before I accept an idea. The thought of this is very interesting.

          • Dan

            I cannot recall where I read it. I will go hunt for the reference.

          • Toxins

            Yes, please do. If you can give me a piece of the title I can try and search for it as well.

          • Dan

            I think it might be in Jack Norris’s book “Vegan for life”, but then it probably does not have a citation for it. I could look in the book in the section on phytates.

          • http://www.eatandbeatcancer.com/ Harriet Sugar Miller

            Did you ever locate this reference?

  • painterguy

    –I eat 15 bean mix just about every day, without much problem from gas. These are cooked beans and it only takes a couple of hours on low heat. I think canned beans are yucky–they taste like the can. –A little bowl of lentils though will put me on the moon and have my gut blowing non stop gas for three days.
    –I eat beans with kale. Then I can say that I eat “beans & greens.”

  • daniel2013

    I find this video very interesting, but I’m wonder, is this link between beans and lifespan *correlation* or *causation* ? Can you please comment on that ? This difference is a very common source of confusion.

  • omnimatty

    I hope peanuts count as one of those helpful legumes too.

  • Derrek

    What’s everyone’s opinion on protein powder? I’m trying to gain muscle but right now might just do whole foods instead.

    • Toxins

      You can eat whole plant foods and still gain muscle mass. Its about the stress of the exercise and not how much protein you consume. Consuming protein does not automatically mean your body will create muscles, as protein is used on an as needed bases. Protein powders supply much more protein then necessary and the majority of it is converted to fat. Please see this video regarding plant based body building.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-bodybuilding/

      You will never become protein deficient unless you are malnourished. Eating when your hungry, till your full, of whole plant foods will supply all of the protein you need.

  • Morely Angel

    Phfffffff…this NutritionFacts.org sh!t rocks (no pun intended). I so appreciate your sense of humor; it’s totally up my ally (no pun intended). You’re the bomb, Dr. Greger (no pun intended)! No, really, I love me some beans and Dr. Greger

  • Ugugu

    Are these type of studies peer reviewed or is just some speculation studies looking at one part of peoples living habits. I think lasting good health is more complicated than just eating beans.
    It seems almost like a glorification that does not take into consideration things like phytic acids. So it is hardly the healthiest food type but definitely one of the most diverse and important.
    Regardless not everyone prepares their legumes and beans properly (by soaking, germinating, fermenting or sprout),. It is just a fact that high contents of phytic acid can limit the intake of iron and calcium in some cases.
    Yeah beans and legumes can be very healthy but they are no miraculous food either. Longevity has to do with many factors and not primarily beans. It makes it sound like beans will make you live extra long just by eating beans!
    Paleo people do over exaggerate the harmful effects of grains but people who pretend that there are not inhibitors in grains and legumes are equally delusional.

    • Toxins

      Cooking eliminates these antinutrients so this is a non issue. Phytic acid also doubles as an antioxidant. Furthermore, Dr. Greger is merely sharing more research showing the power of plant foods, he has no intention of showing that beans are magical.

  • Derrek

    Any studies on the harm of protein powders and decreased life expectancy? Sorry this isn’t really relevant to the video.

  • Dean

    I am a vegan who eats two cups of beans daily, but I have hemochromotosis (iron overload) and must try to limit iron-rich foods. Any suggestions. Thank you.

    • Toxins

      If you eat solely a plant based diet, your intestines should be bale to completely block excess non heme iron

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      You will be much better off by eating a plant based diet and avoiding any supplements that contain iron. You should of course make sure that you consume enough Vitamin B12. See the 5 video’s on Vitamin B12 beginning with http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-recommendation-change/. You should have your iron levels checked and work with your physician(s) to see if and when you need to be treated.

  • Dean

    I have hemochromotosis and must limit iron rich foods. Any suggestions? Thanks

  • Dean

    What advice for us with hemochromatosis? Thank you.

  • DGR

    Flatulence from cooked beans can be reduced by first soaking your beans with seaweed (kombu or sweet kombu) and then cooking the beans with seaweed. The seaweed helps to release the enzymes that cause flatulence and increase the minerals you intake because of the seaweed! You can purchase radiation free seaweeds at http://www.seaweedmermaid.com We test our seaweed three times a year and have had radiation free seaweed from the Mendocino Coast of California for the past three years! Get your seaweed while you can- we cannot predict the future of the ocean’s conditions!

    • DGR

      Seaweeds store for long periods of time, so you can buy today and have nutritionally dense seaweed far into the future as long as you keep them dry and out of the sun!

  • Derrek

    Dr. Greger, you should do a video on protein powder and it’s effect. I saw the heavy metals but so many people use them and I’m just wondering the health risks associated with consuming them. Thanks

    • Toxins

      Derrek, I have responded to you several times regarding protein supplements and you continually ignore my responses either unintentionally or purposefully. My position is the same as Dr. Greger’s. There is no dietary need to consume them, and they are overall harmful.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/protein-intake-and-igf-1-production/

  • Derrek

    What vegan foods are highest in valine, isoleucine and leucine? I’m looking for a good and healthy post workout shake. Thanks!

  • Derrek

    I’m sorry I want trying to ignore them purposefully. I just didn’t know if there were any studies besides the heavy metals conducted on them. I trust you and D. Greger. Thanks!

  • Dean

    I have hemochromotosis but love beans. Any advice?

  • Darryl

    Any discussion of on the longevity benefits of beans deserves a mention that they’re the best dietary source of spermidine, an inducer of macroautophagy (cellular “spring-cleaning” of aged proteins and organelles). Spermidine both increases lifespan and healthspan in animal models, and is enriched in the blood of humans living past 90.

    • VegAtHeart

      Given your post, I am contemplating the following video by Dr. Greger:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/carcinogenic-putrescine/
      I was struck by the high levels of putrescine listed for fruits in your cited Ali paper. I don’t know why Dr. Greger did not mention this in the above video – wouldn’t that be relevant?
      In your opinion, are there risks associated with consuming high levels of these polyamines?

      • Darryl

        From my readings, it seems the research consensus on the polyamines has changed markedly in the past decade – from concern with potential for cancer promotion, to an appreciation of health-promoting benefits. Its not dissimilar to the situation with folate/folic acid, where yes, its a limiting nutrient for tumors, but there’s also recent compelling evidence of vascular benefits. Many nutrients seem to promote both general health and cancer cells, and may always present Scylla and Charybdis dilemmas. Personally, I’m satisfied by the 2004 legume & longevity study that the net effect of a high dietary polyamine diets is positive.

        I’m fascinated at the moment with autophagy (another folder), which is implicated in every lifespan increasing intervention to date, and which may have unique importance in neurodegenerative disorders. Unlike other important general anti-senescence pathways like Nrf2 induction, NF-kB inhibition, epigenetic interventions or glycation inhibitors, there aren’t that many potential levers known at the moment, with the only significant dietary ones being spermidine and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol.

        • VegAtHeart

          Nice point on the shift in perception on polyamines and health and I appreciate your autophagy articles provided in draft 1. Maybe someday you’ll share your entire collection with us?
          True that the recent Ali paper was not available for the previous Dr. G video, though an earlier Ali paper (and other such papers) listed under his Sources Cited section had supported high putrescine in fruits. Oh well.

          • Darryl

            Sure. Most material on autophagy at: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

          • VegAtHeart

            Thank you very much Darryl- saved it.

  • Gorden Tri

    Can phytoestrogens cause growth plates to fuse ? Can phytoestrogens be neutralised like phytates ?

    • Toxins

      Nothing wrong with phytoestrogens from soy. They are in fact helpful.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/phytoestrogens/

      • Gorden Tri

        Aren’t phytoestrogens SERMS

        • Toxins

          The receptor system reacts differently with p-hytoestrogens unless consumed in huge quantities. Here is a quote from one of our members summing up the issue nicely.

          ” came across a review that clarified my understanding of estrogen receptors, and owe you a revision to my explanation:

          There are (at least) two types of estrogen receptor, an alpha receptor responsible for both the feminizing effects of estrogen and promotion of breast and uterine cancers, and a beta receptor without feminizing effects that appears to suppress cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. Soy isoflavones in dietary amounts have a greater affinity for the beta receptor (and hence one can eat soy without feminizing effects), but in a few animal studies, very high (non-dietary) doses of soy isoflavones can also activate alpha receptors. Another case of whole-plant food good, pill extract bad.”
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breast-cancer-survival-vegetable/#comment-1101259182

  • Gina

    My boyfriend hates legumes of all kinds except for Peanuts (which are technically legumes). Do these health benefits apply to peanuts or does it look like I will outlive him by a long time?

  • Ronald Chavin

    Dr. Greger is correct that beans are among the healthiest plants that we can eat. Only allium vegetables and cruciferous vegetables can match the health benefits of eating legumes. However, Dr. Greger is being dishonest with us when he claims that legumes don’t cause flatulence. Dr. Greger needs to visit a Japanese tofu factory to learn how the Japanese make tofu and unsweetened soymilk from soybeans, which are first boiled and then ground down into soybean puree, which is later separated into okara (soybean pulp) and unsweetened soymilk. The unsweetened soymilk coagulates into soybean curd, which is made into tofu. The unsweetened soymilk and tofu do not cause much flatulence and they retain most of the health benefits of eating soybeans, including the isoflavones, genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. The Japanese locate their tofu factories very close to animal farms because more than 95% of the okara (soybean pulp) is fed to animals (mostly hogs and dairy cows) and about 4% of the okara becomes fertilizer (compost) because it is fairly rich in nitrogen and trace minerals. Despite being rich in fiber and rich in health benefits, less than 1% of the okara (soybean pulp) is fed to humans. Why? Because although they make delicious vegan burgers, okara (soybean pulp) strongly causes flatulence. The fiber in legumes is not that fermentable so technically, most of the flatulence comes from the resistant starches, including raffinose, and not from the fiber. The sugars and digestible starches are quickly absorbed by the human body and so they don’t cause as much flatulence as the resistant starches, which are slowly fermented by our gut microbes:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okara_(food)

  • Wil

    I like beans, but have trouble getting motivated to eat them everyday. Any good recipes to help make a variety of tasty dishes?

    • Thea

      Wil: I have some ideas for you.

      1) Get Lorna Sass’s book, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Several of her bean recipes are simply delicious. I particularly like the Chickpea and Onion recipe. Here is a link to the basic recipe:

      http://mealsteps.com/recipe/chickpea_stew_with_sweet_onions

      I prefer red kidney beans with this recipe rather than the chickpeas. And red onions work just fine.

      2) dips and dressings
      I personally find that beans don’t have all that much of a taste. Mostly they have a shape and texture that changes from bean to bean. So, for me, it is the sauce or seasonings that really matter. You can give yourself a double-bean dose by creating a great bean-based sauce and then putting it over a bowl of grains, veggies and, yes, beans. I like to put the following maple-mustard dressing over a mushroom-barley-broccoli bowl, but it goes great with anything.

      Maple-Mustard Sauce (adopted from somewhere I don’t remember). Blend all of the following:

      > 1/4 cup nut butter (or if using commercial blender, throw in some cashews directly
      > 1/4 cup mustard (more to taste. Try Dijon)
      > 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
      > 1/4 cup fresh/frozen real lemon juice (try frozen Minute Maid)
      > 3 TB low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
      > 3 TB 100% pure maple syrup (to taste)
      > 1/4 to 1/2 cup water (leave out water for great dip)
      > 1 can beans (my favorite: pinto, red kidney, or any white)

      One of my new favorite cookbooks, Let Them Eat Vegan, has a bean-based dip/sauce that I thought was pretty good even though the title had the word “kid” in it. That one goes good on potatoes and other hearty foods.

      3) cookies, cakes and brownies

      While you wouldn’t want to rely on cookies and cakes for your daily bean dose, they can be a good way to sneak in some more beans. More and more dessert recipes are using whole beans or bean flours.

      For example, David Gabbe’s book has an Orange Bean Cake with Orange Maple Glaze that I thought was pretty darn good and not too sweet. It’s dense like a coffee cake. The bulk of the ingredients are homemade oat flour (ground up rolled oats) and cooked beans. The sweeteners are maple syrup and orange juice concentrate. Not bad health-wise for a dessert! Plus, it is easy to make.

      4) Other cookbooks.
      There is actually an entire cookbook with vegan bean recipes. Check out:
      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_10/192-1007975-9810418?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=vegan%20bean%20book&sprefix=vegan+bean%2Caps%2C294

      You may also want to look into vegan slow cooker cookbooks as those books would likely have several good recipes that involve beans.

      Hope that helps!

  • MS

    I’d love to see a video about eating sprouted beans…!

  • Tobias Brown

    Is there a difficulty between eating beans and lentils on a daily basis, which are high in protein, while maintaining a low overall consumption of protein, in particular of the amino acid methionine, also recommended by Dr Greger in the videos on calorie restriction vs protein restriction for life-extension? It seems that maintaining 40-50 grams of protein per day would be very hard if beans are included…