A new study has determined that consuming one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils, known as pulses, can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” and therefore decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
The study published in the Canadian Medical association journal determined that the level of LDL cholesterol was lowered by 5 %, translated into a 5-6% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study consisted of a meta-analyses review of 26 randomized controlled trials involving 1,037 people.
Dr. John Sievenpiper’s meta-analysis reviewed 26 randomized controlled trials that included 1,037 people. Men had greater reduction in LDL cholesterol compared with women, perhaps because their diets are poorer and cholesterol levels are higher and benefit more markedly from a healthier diet.
One serving of pulses is 130 grams or ¾ cup, yet North Americans on average eat less than half a serving a day. Pulses generally have a low glycemic index and tend to reduce or displace animal protein as well as “bad” fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal.
“We have a lot of room in our diets for increasing our pulse intake to derive the cardiovascular benefits,” Dr. John Sievenpiper the lead study author said. “Pulses already play a role in many traditional cuisines, including Mediterranean and South Asian. As an added bonus, they’re inexpensive. Since many pulses are grown in North America, it’s also an opportunity to buy and eat locally and support our farmers.”
Vanessa Ha, John L. Sievenpiper, Russell J. de Souza, Viranda H. Jayalath, Arash Mirrahimi, Arnav Agarwal, Laura Chiavaroli, Sonia Blanco Mejia, Frank M. Sacks, Marco Di Buono, Adam M. Bernstein, Lawrence A. Leiter, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Vladimir Vuksan, Richard P. Bazinet, Robert G. Josse, Joseph Beyene, Cyril W.C. Kendall, David J.A. Jenkins. Effect of dietary pulse intake on established therapeutic lipid targets for cardiovascular risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ, 2014 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.131727