Beans Beans They're Good For Your Heart

Image Credit: homami / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Hummus for a Healthy Heart

I’ve talked previously about the anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects of various phytonutrients in beans, but beans have protective effects on the cardiovascular system as well. As one academic review suggested, plant-specific compounds can have a remarkable impact on the health care system and may provide therapeutic health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases and disorders. Plants have antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory effects, protect our livers, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help prevent aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, DNA damage, heart disease 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. And they can also lower cholesterol levels. Researchers placed people in Northern India on high fat diets to raise their cholesterol levels up to that of the Western world (up around 206 mg/dL) and swapped in chickpeas for some of the grains they were eating. In five months, their cholesterol levels dropped to about 160, almost to the target of around 150. Cholesterol was reduced more than 15 percent in most of the subjects. In a randomized crossover trial, highlighted in my video, Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart, 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.

In the India study, although the subjects’ cholesterol levels were comparable to the Western world at the start of the treatment with chickpeas, before the study the participants were eating a  low-fat diet. So low that their cholesterol levels started out at 123, well within the safe zone. Only after packing participants’ diets with saturated fat were the researchers able to boost their cholesterol up to typical American levels, which could then be ameliorated by adding chickpeas. So, it would be better if they just ate healthy in the first place. Or even better, healthy with hummus: a healthy diet with lots of legumes.


Bean dips like hummus are among my favorite go-to snacks. I like to dip snap peas and red bell pepper slices in them. I’d love to hear everyone’s favorite recipe. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine :)

Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? Click the link to find out!

Beans can help us live longer (Increased Lifespan from Beans), control our blood sugars (Beans and the Second Meal Effect), and help prevent and treat diabetes (Preventing Prediabetes By Eating More and Diabetics Should Take Their Pulses).

What about the purported “anti-nutrient” phytates in beans? You mean the Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer, the Phytates for Rehabilitating Cancer Cells, and the Phytates for the Treatment of Cancer? Phytate-containing foods may also help protect our bones (Phytates for the Prevention of Osteoporosis).

Why not just take cholesterol pills every day for the rest of our life? See my videos Statin Muscle Toxicity and Statin Cholesterol Drugs and Invasive Breast Cancer.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

142 responses to “Hummus for a Healthy Heart

Comment Etiquette

On, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. Hello! I would like to know about HDL and LDL. Are they formed in the blood? What are the factors which determine whether cholesterol will be formed into HDL or LDL? Why is it not all made into HDL and taken to the liver? Thank you. Jo

    1. Hi Jo,
      HDL and LDL are lipoproteins (combinations of proteins/fats) which also contain cholesterol. They’re created in the liver and circulate in the blood stream. In very basic terms, LDL can carry cholesterol *to* arterial plaques, whereas HDL can carry it away from plaques (again, highly oversimplified but it’s the general idea). Factors such as diet, genetics, hormones and exercise all help to determine LDL vs HDL levels. As to why it’s not all HDL, I’m assuming that there would be negative physiologic consequences to completely knocking out *all* LDL, but that’s a good question, especially since as Dr. Greger mentions in this video, it appears that the lower the LDL, the better!

    2. I’ll add a little something to your question about LDL and what determines what form cholesterol will take. Your diet plays a HUGE role. What I’m about to say is strictly anecdotal because it was my experience, but the research shows the same. If you stop the dietary intake of cholesterol, your total cholesterol and LDL level will drop. Before being plant based my total cholesterol was 194 and my LDL was 116 (both actually considered “normal” but we see plenty of folks that have heart attacks and strokes with “normal” cholesterols). Six weeks after going plant-based, my total cholesterol was 131 and my LDL was 80. That’s the equivalent of what a moderate-strength statin medication would have done to me and all I did was eat plants. What’s most reassuring to me is that we do not see people having heart attacks when their cholesterol is naturally (i.e. without medicine) less than 150. We just don’t. 150 on your total cholesterol is that magic number. It really should be considered normal to have a total cholesterol of less than 150. We see this in areas of the world where the population eats a plant-based diet their entire lives…their cholesterol does not go up as they age as it does here in the U.S. It stays the same throughout their entire lives, and in those same areas, heart disease is virtually non-existent.

  2. I make “Green Hummus.” To the usual beans, garlic, lemon and tahini mixture I add a handful of Kale or Arugula. I also make Guacamole Hummus by adding an avocado, hot sauce and some cumin. I omit the tahini when using the avocado. The options and flavors are endless and it is fun to try new ingredients. I have chickpeas cooking in my pressure cooker right now and I usually make two batches a week.

    1. BB: I’d like to make my own hummus, but the deterrent is tahini, which is expensive. Can tahini be made at home without a lot of mess? Thanks

      1. Tahini is basically sesame seeds and oil. You can find recipes online or you can do what I do … just substitute sesame seeds for the tahini.

        1. Just a small correction: Tahini *should* be just ground sesame seeds, which includes their oil of course, but without added oil. I don’t know if some manufacturers add oil to it, but this can be verified by reading the ingredient list. By the way, while the most common type is made from the “white” hulled seeds, there is also tahini, or sesame paste, made from whole sesame, and even some made from sprouted sesame. These are much more nutrient-dense and in my opinion, to be preferred when possible.

        2. You don’t need oil to make tahini. Grind up the seeds in a Vitamix blender and add water until it reaches the desired consistency (I use the water I cook the beans in).

      2. Yes! You can use white sesame seeds (uncooked), which can be ground with a mortar and pestle. Add tiny bits of water until they make a paste, then store in a cold spot in the frig for about a week.

      3. You can leave the tahini out of the recipe or substitute peanut butter. If I add a fatty ingredient such as avocado or olives, I do omit the tahini.

        1. Peanuts are bad as bad as can be, they are mostly GMOs and very unhealthy even if they aren’t gmo’s. Sesame seeds by the contrary are very healthy rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid. Oleic acid helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin, minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, etc. The best oil for humans comes from those tiny seeds. You can roast them at very low temperature on a ceramic skillet, and then grind them with a coffee grinder, I do my own tahini and also the famous j
          apanese Gomasio sesame and salt condiment (I use pink himalayan salt) and add it on top of veggies, salads, etc.

      4. I usually get a small bottle of toasted sesame oil from the Asian grocery and just use a few drops for flavor. The pure uncut oil is a bit pricey but lasts forever since you only literally need a few drops to flavor food. It goes way farther than tahini so a better deal price and fat-wise. If I’m out of it though, I’ll either just leave it out or throw a spoonful of sesame seeds into the blender with the beans.

      5. Tahini costs about 7-8$/lb. in “regular” supermarkets – however, if you have a large Arab or Indian/Pakistani community nearby – try one of their specialty shops. I’ve seen Tahini @ $9/kg ($4/lb.) in a large Indian supermarket on Long Island.

  3. Hi everyone! I’m David, a lover of hummus and one of the new volunteer moderators here at I have a background in nutrition (MS from Virginia Tech) and I’m currently practicing as a physician assistant (PA) in Washington State. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to help!

    1. I recently was at a little Greek restaurant and had a baked hummus patty burger. It was so amazing that I went back the next night and ordered two to take home. Lol. Do you, or anyone reading this, have a good baked hummus recipe. The little info I got was “put it in a baking dish like a batter and bake at 350 until enough moisture is out you can cut it.” Thanks, Lisa

    2. David,

      Does mashing legumes into hummus affect any of the health benefits described above? Do mashed legumes have a more significant effect on blood sugar than whole ones? Are there studies comparing the effects of whole beans to mashed ones?

      1. When legumes (or any other food) is mashed, the fiber is broken down and the glucose is more quickly absorbed. This will raise your blood sugar more quickly than if you ate the food whole. Even with mashed legumes, you’ll still get all of the health benefits described above.

      2. Hello Harriet,
        (From another NF volunteer): mashing legumes should make very little differences in their effects on blood glucose. When your stomach digests legumes, they get “mashed” anyway.

    3. Hi David, Welcome to our group. I did an elimination diet and determined that beans make me shake. I’m told it looks like my whole body is vibrating. I want to know if they are safe for me to eat and, if not, is there a substitute that can give me the benefits of beans?

    4. Hi David, I just came across your post, so welcome again. Hope it’s an enjoyable experience. Lots of questions and answers. I’ve read that statins can result in diabetes. Have you had anyone where using a statin has resulted in increasing glucose or A1c?

    5. Does grilling sesame seeds (like the ones found in tahini) make it somewhat toxic, since you are heating fats and proteins like in meat.

      DO you loose some nutrients ?

      1. Hi, Ariane. I am not sure how you would grill sesame seeds. Perhaps you mean toasting or roasting? It is possible to find raw sesame seeds and raw tahini, if you are concerned about this. The authors of this paper found that toasting degraded lignans in sesame seeds:
        On the positive side, roasting does inactivate salmonella that may be present on raw seeds:
        However, it does increase certain compounds that may be harmful:
        The formation of acrylamide by roasting appears to be related to moisture content, and sesame seeds are relatively low-moisture seeds, so they may develop more acrylamide when toasted.
        I hope that helps!

        1. Thanks !

          I meant toasting or roasting. I will look fo raw tahini (hoping there is no salmonella in it)

          Same principle with peanut butter and almond butter I gather

          Nutrition is never ending fun and discovery ??

    6. Hi David,
      Can I ask you any question, or only about hummous?
      My question is… i just bought the How Not to Die Cook book and I notice a lot of recipes have yeast, or white miso, which has yeast. I have a yeast intolerance, is there a substitute I could use??
      Thank you

      1. Hi Angela! Were there any specific recipes you were hoping to make that contain yeast/white miso? Depending on the recipe there may be different substitutes that work best. Thanks!


    Based on my research, store bought Hummus comes from using the beans that were packed in industrial sized BPA containing cans. I reckon the same goes for the tahini sesame seed tubs as well used in manufacturing. This applies to the reputable brands one often buys at Whole Foods and other markets. Let us all ask these producers (via email) to stop using BPA cans for the garbanzo beans.

      1. Which is why I toss em in the crockpot, cook up a slew, and freeze the excess for next time. I’m too old to wait for the changes we need, so just make my own. :)

  5. I love putting a good amount of hummus on toast (carbs / fiber less than 5), add some onions and some sliced cauliflower. Mmmm, that is very good. Instead of cauliflower you can use broccoli, tomatoes, etc. And for a different flavor, you can add some chipolte sauce. I don’t know if this is a snack or a meal, but I enjoy it.

  6. Hello Dr Greger, I’m a 68 year old man with type 2 diabetes, heart dieses (open heart surgery/bypass) in 2000. I have been on an insulin pump for the past 9 years. I am a Navy veteran and go to the VA for my health care for the last 7 years. My A1C’s are between 7.5 and 8.5, never lower, occasionally higher.
    Three weeks ago my wife read your new book and she shared the good stuff with me. That day we decided to go vegan and try to cure myself with the help of what is in your book. Over the past three weeks I have dropped my blood sugar readings about 100 points and now average about 125 – 150, I use about 15 to 20 less units of insulin per day and I have lost about 7 – 8 pounds.
    I see my VA doctor in three weeks for my normal 3 month visit, I can’t wait to tell her the good news!
    Thank you seems so inadequate but I truly am grateful for your research and dedication.

    1. Hi Charley, Great to hear!! If you’re interested in sharing your story with our audience on Facebook, let me know. I think a lot of people would be inspired to hear about your good news! :) You could send me at email at tommasina[at] if so. Thanks for sharing with us!

      1. Cool, I was just thinking recently it would be great if we could have a space to share success stories like a lot of other plant based sites do! We sure have a bunch!

        1. Excellent idea! I would like to share that my trigeminal neuralgia has been in remission (or possibly reversed) by first doing an elimination diet and then following a bland whole-plant low fat vegan diet for the past 2.5 years. It was diagnosed at the Cleveland Clinic. I was sensitive to the side effects of Gabapentin and other drugs prescribed. At its worst point, I was in extreme pain when I opened my mouth, and air hit my teeth. Finally, a blogger named Frank Sherwood suggested the TN diet.

    2. Congratulations, Charlie, to you and your wife. You might want to also check out Dr McDougall’s starch diet, which emphasises low fat and no oils for reversing hear disease and illuminating high BP, and diabetes. He’s very similar to Dr Greger. I prefer Dr Greger for nutrition density and Dr McDougall for his lower fat. You might also want to read Dr Joel Fuhrman and Dr Dean Ornish. Most of these books can be found at the library. They are all great, all similar and all colleagues. But McDougall and Greger are my favorites, with Dr Greger being my main guy.

      Best of health to you. I hope your doctor’s visit is even better than you expect.

    3. Nice to see another poster “child” for a whole foods, plant based way of life. Congrats!

      P.S. If you have the means, do what I do, buy the book for people who NEED it! We all have those folks in our lives.

    4. Congratulations Charley. You’re living, breathing proof that diseases of lifestyle can be reversed by changing the lifestyle. Hopefully, eventually you’ll be off insulin completely.
      And thank you for your service.

    5. Hello! I’d love to get better care for Navy Veterans. Have you heard of the Pauling therapy for heart disease? It involves three grams of Lysine and three grams of Vitamin C a day, possibly with Proline. This diet removes plaque. As does high doses of Vitamin D3. Do you suffer from any of the conditions similar to beriberi? There is a relationship between beriberi and diabetes. The nerve damage and tingling of diabetes is identical to beriberi, for which you should consider adding thiamine, vitamin B1.

        1. In “A Patented Heart Disease Therapy that Works” an author describes his success with the Pauling Therapy, using several cardiograms. I began a regime of high dose D3 that stripped my arteries of plaque. The Pauling Therapy, which uses Lysine to bind to Lipoprotein (A) and Vitamin C to heal damage to arteries, used the best science at the time to remove plaque from arteries. Perhaps this is the most superior medicine. Or perhaps Vitamin K2 and Plant Based Iron, from hibiscus tea or pumpkin seeds, would more evenly heal arteries. Niacin, in Orthomolecular doses, reduces Lipoprotein (A). It, with all B Vitamins, is destroyed in all plant based food by heating.

            1. Hello. I take 35,000 iu of D3 daily, or seven pills. All sickness can be traced to a D3 deficiency. My bones are healing. I believe D3 to be the Growth Factor or the master vitamin. Be sure to balance D3 with K2. You can read about D3 in “The Miraculous Results of Extremely High Doses of the Sunshine Hormone Vitamin D3 My Experiment With
              Huge Doses of D3 From 25,000 to 50,000 to 100,000 IU A Day Over a 1 Year Period,” by Jeff Bowles. Dr. Greger said D3 exhibits a U shaped Mortality Cure. I believe the U refers to the fact that it is you, and there is no max doses. The same with Salt and plant based Iron and Phosphorus. These things are you and are great for you in great doses. You are D3, Salt, Iron, and Phosphorus. The more the better.

              1. Well, I don’t like to argue with patients too much over what has worked for them. However, it IS possible to overdose on Vitamin D. Also, high doses of sodium are clearly linked to hypertension (Dr. G. has a recent video on this), and very dangerous to people with congestive heart failure.

                1. Sodium is a macro nutrient, as is Chlorine, one of only a few, that seems to make up the built of the bug and Eric regions of the brain. I think it is very easy to be deficient in salt. If you lick your palms right now, are they salty? You might have a salt deficiency.

                  1. Hi Matthew, sodium is a micronutrient. The macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. All vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients. There have been a number of wonderful videos on sodium and salt here on including and,, among many others. Please take a look at them.

                    As with most things, the human body requires a balance of nutrients and so it can be harmful to believe in the “more is better” belief. A great example of the potential detrimental effects of “the more is better” ideology are the many cases of hyponatremia with excess water intake.

                    1. You are mistaken. Sodium is not a trace element. “Another 5 elements make up most of the last percentage point: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium.” These are the most abundant elements in the body, after Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, and Phosphorous. Sodium is needed in great abundance in the body. I love doing high dose Sodium. It seemed to be one of the last elements I could think I would need.

                    2. Not all micronutrients are trace elements.

                      Additionally, people are individuals, and may respond differently to salt intake. It’s important that each individual be aware of the potential detrimental consequences of excessive salt intake.

                    3. Sodium is neither a micronutrient nor a trace element. The Sodium Potassium channel is not the same as the Copper Zinc balance. They have changed by medicine. Salt and Potassium can be stored. Copper and Zinc are swapped, in my opinion. This has let people become very deficient in Zinc, Potassium, and Sodium. Some people, who are very sick, have deficits of Copper. In my opinion.

                    4. I will respectfully disagree with you, as the scientific literature is clear in respect to the classification of sodium. Please review the videos regarding salt on this website if you choose. My best.

                    5. The Scientific literature is clear that Sodium is a macro element

                      [The role of macro-elements in the human body].
                      [Article in Hungarian]
                      Lakatos B1, Balla J, Vinkler P, Szentmihályi K.
                      Author information
                      1Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Kémiai Kutatóközpont, Anyag- és Környezetkémiai Intézet, Budapest.
                      The authors summarize the role of essential macro metal elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg) in human body: their homeostasis, absorption, transport, storage and excretion. Metabolism of macro-elements, daily requirements, cause of metal deficiencies and diseases caused by deficiencies are also discussed. Messenger and prooxidant effect of Ca2+-ions, indirect antioxidant effect of Mg2+-ions and the adjuvant application of magnesium are also reviewed.
                      Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium are macro elements. This was discussed in abundance in my Soil Science classes. They were very clear. I do not think you have the same education I do, and I think you disagree to be wrong.

                    6. Additionally, chlorosis is a common deficiency in plants. People are similar. Schizophrenia abounds among vegetarians as a method of treatment for this disease. It is possible that this is a deficiency of Chlorine, also a macro nutrient. I would love to recognize Chlorine. The mood disorders might just be a deficiency of Chlorine. We might never know. Nitrogen and Chlorine seem to be related in the body, in my opinion.

              2. Matthew: Thank you so much for the information. I’ve read that very large doses of vitamin D, such as yours, could cause kidney problems. From what you’ve written, you don’t seem to have any. I take 5000 IU a day, not to treat any condition, but to get enough vitamin D. I have dark skin (Asian origin) and wanted increase to 10, 000 IU but is worried. Thanks again for the reassurance.

    6. I’m so happy for you. Please look up Protective It uses whole plant based vegan foods as well. I’ve lost 20 pounds and off BP and statin drugs.

    7. That is amazing! I´m so happy for you :) My dad also got rid of high cholesterol, tryglicerides and high blood sugar levels by eating a whole-foods, low-fat, plat-based diet :) It simply works! Congratulations and keep it up!

    8. Keep up the good work Charley! I’m a CharlieGirl, and did the same a few years ago and reversed a slew of health issues, including diabetes and dropped half my body weight! It works, and the more you learn the better it gets! Best of health, you are on the right road!

  7. I love whipping up or mashing beans to make dips and spreads. I’ve used every kind of bean imaginable. Add spices, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, leeks, ginger, mustard, dried herbs, whatever I’m in the mood for. I make the Jeff Novick burgers all the time Caribbean jerk spice burgers are one of my favorites!

  8. My recipe:

    300g chickpeas
    5-6 cloves roasted garlic
    2T tahini
    1t salt
    1t pepper
    1T hemp seeds
    about a cup or so of hemp milk
    some red pepper flakes if you want it spicy

    blend until smooth. i used to include a tablespoon of flax seeds as well, but made the recipe too gummy. now i just sprinkle the ground flax on top when spreading on toast, along with broccoli sprouts and/or tomato. i also drizzle some sriracha on top on occasion.

  9. I frequently add chick peas to my salads but avoid hummus because of the olive oil and salt. Does anyone have a good recipe that excludes those items?

    1. I love my recipe you might like. To chick peas/garbanzo beans, I add lemon juice, chopped garlic and cumin. Since I cook up big batches of chick peas and freeze in different size containers, there’s always a bit of juice which I add as needed in my small Black and Decker food chopper which I use for humus and salsa. This is often my dinner with raw carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, celery and blue corn organic and unsalted chips from my co-op. It’s very filling and healthy. I’ve never used salt nor olive which I avoid every day.

      1. Have you been able to find fat free baked blue corn chips? If so, please tell me where? For the most part, all chips including baked or low fat are saturated with oil. If you are avoiding oil please be mindful of any manufactured product which is greasy and salty.

        1. I haven’t looked really. I try to keep weight on but still avoid fat. The only chips I buy and that’s not often are blue corn salt free organic by Garden of Eatin which contains 7 gr fat per 16 chips. They are definitely not greasy. and of course salt free. If I dip 16 chips in oil free humus maybe once a month I think that’s ok. I rarely eat fat other than that contained in fruits and veggies not using oil and on the strict plant based lifestyle since 2003, vegan about 8 years before that and vegetarian since college. You might google fat free/salt free chips as they may be out there though I think you’d have to make do with salt free low fat.

      2. Speaking of chickpea broth, have you heard of aquafaba? Yep, just bean broth but because of it’s chemistry, it can be whipped like egg whites to make meringues, desserts, souffles, whatever. Google it, there is even a FB site dedicated to it with recipes and stuff. Vegan “egg” whites come in handy!

    2. rjs,

      I have always made hummus without any tahini or any other fatty ingredient. I use lemon juice, water, garlic, pepper, and chickpeas. That’s it and I really love it. You don’t need to follow recipes exactly, particularly when you have your health in mind. Once I used red bell pepper in my hummus and it was very very good.

    1. Sumac does appear to have a number of potential health benefits in cell and animal models, but unfortunately it seems like the data in humans is scarce.

    1. Baked corn or flour tortillas, just slice them into wedge sizes and bake on a sheet sprinkled with some garlic and/or onion powder or any other spices. Or spread on toast. You can also top baked potatoes and steamed veggies or cooked beans with hummus.

    2. Sandy, I wish I could remember the brand but there is an organic blue corn and also black bean chip without salt. I buy it at my local co-op. It’s great with humus. I love to dip raw cauliflower in my humus.

    3. Hi Sandy! Another personal favorite of mine are flackers, or crackers made of flax seeds, which you can find in most big name grocery stores these days. Hope this helps!

    4. Sandy, I just mix flax and water, let it sit until batter-like and pat it out on a try lined with parchment. You can add any seeds or flavors you like too, but couldn’t be easier. I don’t know the exact measures, but you can find it online, I just wing it!

  10. So what about the digestive irritability caused by beans? I really react to that to the point where it’s too uncomfortable for me to eat them, despite knowing how great they are for me. What can I do to mitigate that digestive irritation – the gurgly and gassy – so I can eat these great foods?

    1. Don’t let it stop you from eating beans. Just eat small portions until it gets easier. It definitely will get easier, but only if you keep eating them! Long soaking and throwing away the water make a big difference, but the most important thing is to keep eating them so that you’ll adapt.

    2. Hi B! Dr. Greger actually wrote a blog post on this very topic a few years ago. Turns out, this may actually be a good sign! I hope you find this helpful.

    3. I share your pain. No, really, I share your pain. I have been on a WFPB diet now for over 4 years and I am still a veritable gas factory. But I feel better in all other aspects when I eat plenty of pulses, so I continue to eat them daily. Still I would dearly love all my little friends to settle down. Maybe I just need new little friends. How do I go about evicting the current tenants of my colon and getting new less gassy friends to move in and set up shop?

        1. Second that recommendation! Fun to make your own too! Bubbling jars fermenting on your counter are like little pets for your tummy! :)

  11. So glad to read this. I purchase large containers of hummus dip from the store. My only concern was the high sodium from the store bought version. Trying to make my own more often so I can avoid the sodium. I eat it with celery sticks and raw broccoli.

  12. I love some of Dr Geegor’s work but he has made the same mistake here many researchers make. He starts by characterizing the Indian test diet as “high fat” but later on he clarifies this to high saturated fat. The terms are not synonymous and the bait and switch use of them as such taints his work, as well as the fats debate in general. A recent study in diabetics, for instance, found good metabolic results with a high fat diet, but with saturated fat restricted to under 10% of caloric intake. I wish Dr. Gregor would pay more attention to this distinction instead of just always banging the low fat drum. On the plus side, I am a fan of legumes and the fiber is great. However, many with blood sugar issues still need to moderate their intake due to the carbs and resultant blood sugar spikes.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Steven. It does appear that the India study looked at a diet high in saturated fat as the subjects in the “high fat” groups were fed a diet that consisted of large amounts of butter. Thank you for pointing this out. Would you mind sharing the article on high unsaturated fat diets in diabetic patients?
      Regarding the impact of legumes on blood sugar, one of the great things about these magical fruits is that they tend to have a less dramatic impact on the rate of change of blood sugar levels than most other sources of carbohydrates and have been shown to be of great benefit to patients with diabetes. Dr. Gregor has posted several videos about the benefits of beans, such as Starch blocking foods for diabetics? and Beans and the second meal effect. Hope this helps!

    2. You are absolutely right. If people are not going to treat the root cause of their diabetes, toxic amount of saturated fats in their muscles (resulting in insulin resistance), liver (insulin resistance causing the liver to continue to release glucose when blood sugar is already high) and the pancreas (where lipotoxemia causes beta cells to stop producing insulin), then they have no choice but to treat the symptoms of diabetes, namely high blood sugar. So they have to go on a diet that carefully regulates their carbohydrate and protein (the excess of which just gets turned into sugar) intake and forces them to consuming more fat rather than treat their disease. Heaven for fend that they should, as you put it, really bang on the low fat drum and eat a diet that will clear the fat out of their muscles and organs and reverse their disease.

      Sadly by only managing a symptom they eat more of what is actually the root cause of their diabetes and so enter a viscous cycle that will keep them sick and getting sicker for the rest of their now shorter lives. But hey to some people heart disease, blindness and amputations are well worth not having to suffer the privation of give up their favorite foods. Or perhaps it is that their doctors have so little faith in their patients that they just know without asking that their patients won’t make the changes necessary to reverse their diabetes so don’t bother to even tell them that this is an actual treatment option. Or as sadly is so often often true, the doctors themselves have no idea that there is any other option other than symptom management because they are only trained to dispense a medication or perform a procedure and symptom management is the best that they can do with drugs.

      But you are so right, Dr. Greger needs to be much more careful to make clear that there is a difference between fat and general and saturated fat in particular since that tiny lack of precision in his message clearly taints his enormous body of work.

    3. Dr G does acknowledge that there is a difference between saturated fat and other dietary fats.

      However, he does not appear to believe that other types of fat are harmless Sure, saturated fat is particularly bad but total circulating free fatty acids are also important and affect insulin control as earlier videos have shown.

      I think it is highly optimistic to think that long term high fat consumption is not implicated in diabetes genesis and management.

    4. Moderating carbs will of course reduce blood sugar levels, but cutting fat can eliminate the cause. High fat is what caused my diabetes, and if I keep total fats under or around 10%, I can eat all the complex carbs I want and I’m fine. I avoid animal products so no longer have to consider saturated fat, but I think trying to tease out the difference is like trying to take the stripes of a zebra.

  13. Like many here, I really enjoy hummus but was trying to avoid oil and could not locally source a tahini without oil. So I started to experiment and after sometime found an off shoot of it that I still call a hummus. For those also wanting an alternative to including tahini I thought I would post my recipe that is still a work in progress despite it moving away from what we all know as hummus.


    3 Beetroot (wrapped in alfoil, baked for 90 minutes and then skinned when cool enough)
    Juice of 2 lemons
    30 mls Tamari
    Can of chickpeas
    4 garlic cloves
    Grated ginger
    Chilli flakes
    Pepper and salt
    3 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

  14. Hi everyone! I am a volunteer moderator for and am here to do my best to help clarify any issues or answer any questions you may have. I have a medical background, but have spent a majority of my free time researching nutrition and finding new ways to incorporate nutritious foods into my life. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    1. Hi Meghan,
      What do you think of bone broth? Does it really have health benefits, as claimed, or is it harmful for health, since it comes from an animal? I looked up Dr. Greger’s website, but did not find anything on this. Thank you!

      1. Hi Ana,
        I apologize for my delayed response. I’ve been trying to locate anything scientific supporting the many health benefits attributed to bone broth out there, but have been unable to come up with any! I did just locate this wonderful piece from NPR that quotes several reputable sources, most of whom agree that the hype surrounding bone broth is overblown. I’ll leave you with my favorite part of the article, a quote from Kantha Shelke, a food scientist and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists and a principal with the food science and research firm Corvus Blue LLC: “Eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables is ideal. Plants offer richer sources in collagen building blocks and, in addition, provide nutrients not found in sufficient quantities in meats or broth.” I appreciate your patience and hope you find this helpful!

  15. I create classic hummus but with red lentils instead of chick peas. They’re healthier and easier to work with. Simmer 1 cup red lentils in 3.25 cups water. Let cool then place in a food processor with 4 cloves crushed garlic, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, a little more than 1 cup tahini, and salt to taste. Process with the steel blade for 3-4 minutes to create a creamy, delicious hummus.

  16. Hi everyone! I am one of the NutritionFacts Moderators and happy to help answer your questions on health and nutrition.

  17. Since everybody is an a recipe sharing mood, I thought I would contribute. I make a chickpea salad that basically replaces tuna with lightly mashed chickpeas as my go-to sandwich filling. Basically mash a can of chickpeas and add 1/4 cup finely minced onion(I like onions, less if you don’t), 1 diced stalk of celery, 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (again I like mustard, less if you don’t) and 2 tablespoons vegan mayo (use reduced fat if you want to cut back more on the fat). I usually double this and it makes two sandwiches a day for my lunch for a week. It is also great in baked corn chip “scoops” as an easy appetizer for picnics or potlucks. Just wait until a few minutes before hand to put in the chip scoops since they will make the chips soggy if they sit too long, or just let people scoop their own if it isn’t a “fancy” affair.

    1. I do this without the mayo, mainly because I’m too lazy to make my own healthy mayo from artichoke hearts or whatever and I never liked the commercial vegan mayos. :( If you want it a little more spreadable without mayo, you can use a little of the aquafaba to smooth it out a little. Great scooped onto a bed of greens and other salad veggies!

      1. A nice alternative is to use 1/2 an avocado ( or just double the recipe so you can use the whole avocado). I mash the avocado first with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice then add and mash the chickpeas. When storing it, I smooth the surface of the chickpeas and then put a piece of plastic film on the surface of the chickpeas and press all the air out to keep the oxygen away from the avocado as much as possible. This will help it last 3 or so days in the refrigerator.

      2. I had never heard of aquafaba before. What a revelation! One more thing that can be done with plants that used to require an animal product. Pretty soon the cooks and chefs will run out of excuses for why they can’t totally switch over to plant based. If aquafaba works just as well as egg whites, what excuse other than inertia can they offer for any recipe that requires egg whites?

        1. There’s an entire Facebook page devoted to aquafaba meringues. :p

          Agree about the replacement aspects of Aq, plus wouldn’t it be less expensive to buy a can of garbanzo beans and use the liquid for egg whites as opposed to buying eggs?!

          1. So one can of chickpeas can contribute towards two of the primary ingredients of my chickpea salad. Win win! BTW, you mentioned using artichoke hearts to make mayo. Do you have a recipe. Always looking for a way to keep the flavor and texture but skip the fat.


              I’ve made the artichoke mayo and her soy-cashew mayo, but to be honest I just don’t use enough mayo to keep it around, and most of it ends up getting composted. :( But I’m not a big sandwich person, don’t eat much if any bread, and make my own salad dressings from other ingredients, although technically you could thin these out to make creamy salad dressings. I make “ranch” dressing using butter beans as a base and Caesar dressing using cashews.

          2. After I learned about aquafaba, my practices flipped. I used to buy salt-free (Eden) canned beans and threw away the liquid. Now I buy the same cans and throw away the beans! ;-) [JUST KIDDING!!!!]

            1. LOL.

              I just made a couple of whote wheat apple pancakes with a few tablespoons of aquafaba in the batter to moisten and lighten it up. Divine! Served with warmed mixed berries on top and two “breakfast” bean sausages. Great easy dinner on a brrrr cold day.

  18. I make hummus with 2/3 chickpeas and 1/3 steamed and shelled edamame, crushed garlic to taste, lemon juice, tablespoon or two of raw sesame seeds, sprinkling of salt to taste.

  19. Hi Dr. Greger! I love love love chickpeas! And I always find new ways to eat them :) I´ve been making an arugula-cheesy-hummus and puting it in quesadillas! So delicious. This is the recipe:

    1 cup chickpeas
    2 cups lightly packed arugula
    1 vegan yogurt (unsweetened)
    2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    1 tablespoon tahini
    1/4 of an avocado
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    2 teaspoons mustard
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    You can find the whole recipe here:

    Thank you so much for the amazing work you are doing. You are such an inspiration! I´ll be starting uni in September to be a certified nutritionist and I can´t wait :)

  20. My go to hummus recipe is based on one by madhur jaffrey.
    2 C cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    2 cloves garlic – minced
    4 T lemon juice
    1 t salt
    3 T pounded sesame w/few drops of water
    5 T water

    Put all ingredients into a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed.

  21. Hello Folks… my favorite chickpeas recipe is: put a handful cocked or canned chickpeas into the Vitamix with one orange to make a very good tasty dipp for my green salad. you may can a dry dates to make it a little bit more sweet if your kids are on strike or you can ad a bit vinegar, pepper oder chili for the men of the house… but for me orange and chickpeas are enough. ;-)

  22. Whatever your recipe try grinding up a quarter cup of hemp seeds in the coffee grinder and adding it in. Especially if your recipe is a bit too runny.

  23. I make a yummy hummus without tahini. Just one can of garbanzo beans, 1/2 lemon, 1-2 garlic cloves, then add either Kalamata olives or roasted red peppers. Both are delicious! Serve with a head of lettuce (fold leaves to chip size to dip), cucumber slices, celery, radishes, etc. One of my favorite meals.

    1. I would say eat more of whatever fruits and vegetables you want! Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen includes things to incorporate into your diet each day but is not meant to be all that you eat for the day. Hope this helps.

  24. However, traditional humus recipes often use olive oil, rich in oxidising omega 6. I prefer chickpea salad made with tofu mayo, and not the store bought kind with a lot of oil.

    1. omega 6 is not oxidizing, it’s a healthy fat! That’s why Dr. Greger himself recommends regular consumption of nuts and other foods containing high amounts of omega 6. Well, that’s ONE of the many reasons. Omega 6 gets its typical rampant internet hyped bad rap over the fact that it’s noted that in the typical American diet, people eat way too many processed foods with oils EXTREMELY high in omega 6 such as soy oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower/safflower oil, etc. Further more, these oils are highly processed and most often served in highly processed foods. Extra virgin olive oil has much lower levels of omega 6 and if you’re using it as addressing or an addition in hummus, it’s not over processed. We should be careful not to over do oils because they’re pure fat, but it’s ok to mix some oil and vinegar on a salad (and can even help absorb some nutrients) in moderation. Just saying, you can choose to be totally oil free and that’s fine, but that if choose, you can still be healthy and enjoy using small amounts of oil here and there in your life and should not judge omega 6 (an essential fat) based on the overconsumption of it through unhealthy sources in a typical westernized diet.

  25. While following a WFPB diet, I have been trying to diligently increase my consumption of beans. However, beans upset my stomach regardless if I use rinsed canned beans, soaked beans, or pureed beans (such as hummus). I am not referring to a gas issue, but rather bad stomach cramps (not intestinal) as soon as I have one bite and it hits my stomach. No other foods cause me issues and there is no other symptom that would suggest an underlying issue (such as ulcer, GERD, etc) aside from a possible bean intolerance or too little stomach acid or certain enzyme potentially. At present, my “solution” is avoid beans. What would be the recommended step to be able to enjoy the health benefits of beans without the uncomfortable pain?

    1. Shelby Barker: I’m not an expert, but I’m thinking that it’s possible that you really do have a bean intolerance. I wonder how long you have been on a WFPB diet? And how strict are you with just eating whole plant foods? The reason I ask is because some people who report an intolerance to gluten report that they are able to consume gluten once again after having been on a WFPB diet for a while. I think of it as their bodies being able to reset and once again eat lots of healthy food. Perhaps something like that could happen for you?
      Another idea I have (with no idea if it would work or not) is to give your body a break from beans for a few months while you continue to eat all the other whole plant foods. Then add a very small amount (like 2 tablespoons) of lentils, which are reportedly easy on the digestive system (though I know you are saying that gas is not the issue). Do just that amount in the context of a meal – ie, don’t eat the beans just by themselves. Then see how that works. If that works, maybe you could slowly build up your bean intake? Just an idea.
      My final idea is that people often say beans to represent a food category, but what we really mean is legumes, which covers (I think) a wider range of foods than just beans. So, if say legumes and pinto beans are really off the table, maybe you could get healthy doses of other types of legumes (like green peas and tamarind) which might work OK for your system?
      What do you think?

    2. Have you tried lentils? You’ll get the same benefits but they may be milder on the stomach. I can’t say for sure but I’m fairly positive they are since you don’t have to soak lentils before preparing them. Also there’s sprouted lentils which would make them even easier to digest. Maybe try introducing beans slowly, your body might need some time to adjust. But hopefully lentils work well for you. Good luck!

  26. Love hummus! And so easy to make. This is my favorite recipe: (I omit the “plus more for serving” olive oil and use a little extra garlic, I also always chop or crush the garlic and let it sit 5 minutes whenever using garlic so as to allow the allicin to kick in). i like the recipe because it tastes amazing, is easy and it uses tahini which has awesome benefits in its own right. I love dipping carrots and red peppers and love making wraps and sandwiches with hummus! I also tried it mixed with guacamole before and loved it. I used to be addicted to corn chips and hummus and all that, but learned about the harmful oils from watching one of Dr. Greger’s speeches, then learned about the dangers of all the excess salt as well. I prefer dipping carrots in my hummus, but I still have corn chips occasionally when I feel like it, but I started making my own out of plain corn tortilla warps so as to control what does and doesn’t go on them. You just slice the wraps into the little triangular “chips” and then bake till they harden (a food dehydrator would probably work too).

  27. Had to make a separate comment in thanking you for teaching the TRUTH about phytates! Something just didn’t sit right with me when seeing all over the internet that we should worry about natural compounds in plants… apart from the fact that it just didn’t feel right instinctually, it was also a red flag when those same random and rampant bloggers would often suggest to people to limit their plant food intake (and in some cases omit certain plant foods entirely!) and in the same sentence promote the use of more animal products in the diet. (So much insane propaganda out there and attacks on plant foods as more and more people become educated.) Inside I knew that anything from the diet nature truly intended for us had to be good plus there’s common sense (if we don’t surrender it to internet blogs which seems endemic these days) of looking around at the healthiest people in the world and seeing what they eat or even experiencing the way you feel when you eat that way yourself (a diet rich in or entirely made up of whole plant foods). So now that I’m currently reading your book “How Not to Die” (which I can’t even begin to say how much I love and think everyone needs to read it, starting right now) I came across a section on phytates and was AMAZED at how BENEFICIAL these are and that the opposite of what these anti-phytate people have been saying is true!! Literally the OPPOSITE of their scare tactics is true!!!!! It’s mind blowing and just another reason to feel amazing about plant foods and laugh at all the propaganda against them. Though it also makes me angry because at one point over all this hype, I was lead to believe I shouldn’t eat beans and started avoiding them for a while. So it makes me angry to think about all the people out there being mislead out of their own health and the health of their loved ones. I think the majority of said hype is from the animal agriculture industry but I also think some of it is from misinformed people, but the thing about some of these people who may mean well is they need to STOP stating things as outright facts and misleading God only knows how many because they choose to believe something! It can literally be dangerous and some of these people can be extremely convincing.
    Anyways, I’m grateful to see the real science behind phytates!

  28. If too much sodium is bad
    and bread is refined product which is also bad
    plus , i never saw any bread with low sodium content
    Then, how the heck he expect us to eat hummus??
    with a spoon??
    I’m surprised no one ever bother to raise this question so far….

    1. Soren,
      Yes, the commercial products do tend to be very high in oil and that is a concern if eaten frequently. The How Not To Die Cookbook has recipes for hummus without the olive oil. Hummus is very easy to make with a food processor or blender. Here is a site that lists some oil-free hummus brands if you do not want to make it yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This