Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart

Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart
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Half a cup of beans a day may drop one’s cholesterol 20 points.

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As important as it is for us to eat our greens, we should also eat our beans. We’ve all heard about how good soybeans are for us, but what about the less exotic pinto bean? Half a cup of cooked pinto beans a day for two months could mean a 20-point drop in our cholesterol. A new wonder drug? No, just pinto beans. Same with baked beans—half a cup of canned vegetarian baked beans a day for two months; navy beans this time, and the same amazing effect. There was a randomized crossover clinical study with a control group and the vegetarian baked bean treatment group. Of all the treatments we have in allopathic medicine—radiation treatments, chemotherapy—a vegetarian baked bean treatment sounds pretty benign. Imagine if there were a pill that could do that, and go good with toast, they’d be making a fortune!

Beans are, after all, one of nature’s most perfect foods; the whole plant in just one little package. Low in fat, no cholesterol, high in fiber and protein. So just like we can improve the nutrition of any dish by adding greens and other veggies, we can do the same by adding beans.

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

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

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

As important as it is for us to eat our greens, we should also eat our beans. We’ve all heard about how good soybeans are for us, but what about the less exotic pinto bean? Half a cup of cooked pinto beans a day for two months could mean a 20-point drop in our cholesterol. A new wonder drug? No, just pinto beans. Same with baked beans—half a cup of canned vegetarian baked beans a day for two months; navy beans this time, and the same amazing effect. There was a randomized crossover clinical study with a control group and the vegetarian baked bean treatment group. Of all the treatments we have in allopathic medicine—radiation treatments, chemotherapy—a vegetarian baked bean treatment sounds pretty benign. Imagine if there were a pill that could do that, and go good with toast, they’d be making a fortune!

Beans are, after all, one of nature’s most perfect foods; the whole plant in just one little package. Low in fat, no cholesterol, high in fiber and protein. So just like we can improve the nutrition of any dish by adding greens and other veggies, we can do the same by adding beans.

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

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

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For some of the latest video on the cardiovascular benefits of beans: Soy Worth a Hill of Beans?

And more on beans’ copious health benefits:

And check out the other videos on beans, and a blog about their gassiness: Clearing the Air

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

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

24 responses to “Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart

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    1. Dear Sir, I am very interested in carrying out research on beans and its preservation. Being a chairperson in a women’s initiative, we have just farming as our main activity. I have noticed that bean cultivation does very well in my local community; we have been growing beans just for consumption, but i want to initiate commercialization of beans, therefore, i want to introduce its cultivation in a large scale so that we can sell it. On the course of my research, i have problems in how to preserve beans while looking for people who can buy it.
      I am from Cameroon, subsaharian part of Africa. Thanks

    2. Hi
      Please can you help?
      I suffer with anosmia and was hoping there was a specific food type that could help with this. There is so little information on this subject, any help would be very much appreciated. Many thanks in advance Martin.

      1. Hi Martin,

        Unfortunately anosmia is a poorly researched illness, and there is a lack of controlled studies on complementary and alternative anosmia therapies. I scanned some major research databases and didn’t find any controlled clinical trials on dietary management/treatment. I did find information on alternative therapeutics including nutrients and botanicals (ascorbic acid, bromelain, N-acetylcysteine, quercetin, undecylenic acid, and Urtica dioica and other herbal medicines) but these have not been studied well enough to be officially recommended as treatment. I recommend seeking the advice of a qualified health care professional that is more familiar with the disease and alternative nutritional therapies. I do know that treatment goals include maintaining open drainage and decreasing inflammation while improving tissue integrity and limiting causative factors. Increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods is risk-free, may help your symptoms, and has positive benefits for your whole body.

        Julia

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

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

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

    Roasted Root Vegetable Chili

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

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

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

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

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

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

        In peace and good health,
        lovestobevegan

  3. A good recipe to add more legumes to daily diet:

    Garbanzos and red beans over arugula salad

    Ingredients:

    1 cup of cooked garbanzo beans

    1 cup of cooked red beans

    1 cup of cashews soaked in water

    1/2 tablespoon of fresh rosemary

    2 cups of arugula

    1/2 cup of beet cubes

    1/4 cup of pistachios

    1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

    Pinch of salt

    Preparation:

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

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

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

    4. Garnish with beet cubes.

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you so much.

  7. Does eating beans affect the level of testosterone in the body? If so, what are the kinds that increases or decreases the amount of testosterone? I am considering building muscle while eating primarily vegetables.

    1. Eating a plant based diet tends to raise testosterone but keep cancer risk low.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/02/12/less-cancer-in-vegan-men-despite-more-testosterone/

      There is no need to focus on protein when trying to build muscle on a plant based diet, but it is important to take note of caloric density. As long as you eat when you are hungry, till your full, you will never be protein deficient when eating whole plant foods. Muscle growth is dependent on how much work you do during workout, not how much protein you eat. As long as you eat sufficient food, muscle growth will be had.

  8. Hello.

    Please excuse my englishI was born with mitral vale prolaps and asd (arteri septal defect- what now is very small) and since from highschool i didnt get any weight. i’m 30y 1.73 cm and 52kg. all say that i need to eat more…i really dont get it, in 10 years i didnt get any kg.Can anyone tell me what should i eat to get more weight? i ask so many doctors and people… they say i have to do sport , other say i need eat more meat, orther say i need to eat more time per day. i did all… i dont get it… i dont get any weight i dont feel tierd or dizzy, or other symptoms. i feell full of energy. and didnt get any flue or get sick or make fever since 2009.

    i eat very varied food, eggs(from my on chickens), meet in the morning, soup and second dish at lunch and at dinner somethink easy.
    most of the time milk(not from store) with honey, jam, or other “cold” food (ex: canned fish)

    Please can anyone tell me, any idee about what should i eat. or tell me a program , what should i do evryday. i really wana get more weight

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