Eating Legumes helps reduce heart disease risk and control blood sugar

Credit: National Cancer Institute Daniel Sone (Photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - According to a new study, eating one cup of legumes in conjunction with a diet full of low-glycemic foods on a daily basis helped to control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The randomized controlled trial study results were reported in the Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine publication.

The study involved 121 patients who have type-2 diabetes. They were randomly assigned to either a low-glycemic index diet based around legumes, or they were assigned to follow a low-glycemic index diet with the emphasis around eating whole-wheat foods. The legume group was asked to eat a minimum of one cup of legumes daily, such as dried beans, lentils, or chickpeas.

David J.A. Jenkins, M.D., of the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada, and his colleagues tested the patients A1c (HbA1c) levels to determine the glucose control. They also calculated the participant’s CHD risk score. They determined the CHD risk factor by measuring blood lipid levels, and by measuring blood pressure.

The group who ate the legumes benefited the most from the dietary change. There was a reduction in blood pressure which would reduce the CHD risk. Additionally, the legume group reduced their HbA1c values by 0.5 percent. Comparatively, the wheat group reduced their HbA1c value by 0.3 percent. Because of a reduction in the systolic blood pressure readings, the researchers say that the CHD risk factor was reduced by 0.8 percent in the legume group.

Legumes are high in soluble fiber, which can help reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Food such as split peas, beans, lentils, mesquite, carob, soy, and peanuts are all considered legumes. There are many varieties of dried beans such as black, red kidney, garbanzo, pinto, navy, white, and lima.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Report

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