Beans! They come in so many colors and varieties, and are an inexpensive and filling way to add protein and fiber to your diet (and some nice healthy minerals too). Beans fall into a category of food called legumes although there are lots of legumes that are not beans. In the scientific world, beans are also part of a food group called “Pulses”. Dietary Pulses specifically include beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas.
There have been many scientific studies that have looked at the effect of dietary Pulses on health issues (including cancer prevention, diabetes, weight management, high blood pressure and healthy cholesterol). Here’s a peak at two of these areas – healthy blood pressure and healthy cholesterol levels.
A medical review, published this year, looked at the results of 8 independent clinical studies on the effect of eating Pulses and blood pressure. All the study participants ate the same number of calories with half eating 1 serving of Pulses each day and the other half eating those calories from other healthy foods. The results were impressive, with this conclusion: “Dietary pulses significantly lowered BP in people with and without hypertension.”
A similar review, looked at the results of 26 independent clinical studies on the effect of eating Pulses and cholesterol levels, especially the notorious “bad” cholesterol, LDL. Once again, all the study participants ate the same number of calories with half eating 1 serving of Pulses each day and the other half eating those calories from other healthy foods. The group that ate the Pulses showed a reduction in LDL cholesterol. The authors concluded: “Our findings suggest that dietary Pulse intake significantly reduces LDL cholesterol levels.”
So, if there is someone in your world who really should work on their cholesterol levels or their blood pressure, help them out with the addition of some bean dishes. Want some fun, simple and delicious ideas? Well, here a 3 great ones –
• Check out Sebrina’s awesome BLACK BEAN CHILI
• Maybe a great BLACK BEAN DIP courtesy of Chelsea
• How about yummy and nicely filling WHITE BEANS & RICE, one of Elizabeth’s long time favorites!
Look, there are so many reasons to eat a healthier diet, and so many ways to get it done! You don’t need to be perfect. Every small change will move you in a better direction. Beans are good for you! If you are concerned about cholesterol or blood pressure issues, beans are one more perfect example of the “good” that can be found in good food! Who knows, maybe you’ll create your own signature bean recipe to pass on!!