Vegetarian foods such as legumes and beans can significantly reduce bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease

Vegetarian foods such as legumes and beans can significantly reduce bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease

One of the big problems that most countries in the west have is that we eat far too much low-fibre meat and not enough high-fibre legumes.

“We have a lot of room in our diets for increasing our pulse intake to derive the cardiovascular benefits.  Pulses already play a role in many traditional cuisines, including Mediterranean and South Asian.  As an added bonus, they’re inexpensive.  Because dietary pulse intake may have beneficial effects on other cardiometabolic risk factors, including body weight, blood pressure and glucose control, future systematic reviews and meta-analyses should evaluate the effects of such dietary interventions on these outcomes and others, to address factors that contribute to residual cardiovascular disease risk.  Canadians have a lot of room in their diets to increase their pulse intake and derive cardiovascular benefits.  Only 13% of Canadians consume pulses on any given day, and of those who do, the average intake is only about a half serving.  The reduction of 5% [LDL cholesterol] in our meta-analysis suggests a potential risk reduction of 5% in major vascular events”
Dr. John Sievenpiper of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, April 2014.

This rigorous new research from 26 randomized controlled trials was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), and tells an interesting story about high fibre wholefood diets:

  • Eating just one serving daily of legumes daily can significantly reduce ‘bad cholesterol’ and the risk of heart disease
  • A 5% reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was measured in people who ate just 1 serving (3/4 cup) of legumes a day
  • The 5% reduction in LDL cholesterol was “in addition” to the 5% -10% reduction in LDL cholesterol expected from the heart-healthy diets alone
  • Men had greater reduction in LDL cholesterol than women (probably due to a higher level to start with)

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), by various researchers across Canada and the United States.  The researchers reviewed 26 randomized controlled trials that included 1037 people.  Most of the trials included in the meta-analysis involved participants who already had heart-healthy low-fat diets, meaning the benefits are on top of other heart disease lowering diets.  As reported by The Huffington Post UK and northdenvernews.com on April 7, 2014.

Posted: Friday 11 April 2014