Lifestyle Works

With reference to Michael Greger M.D. FACLM on June 15, 2018

Legumes, which refer to all kinds of beans, chickpeas, split peas, and lentils, are an excellent source of many essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fibres, antioxidants and, not just an excellent source; perhaps the single cheapest source. In terms of nutrition density per dollar, the four that really stand out from the rest are pinto beans, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans.

All that nutritional quality may have beneficial effects on excess body weight, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, inflammation, and oxidative stress—and all “major cardiovascular risk factors.” So, do men and women who eat more beans tend to have less heart disease? Yes, suggesting that “increasing legume intake may be an important part of a dietary approach to the primary prevention of coronary heart disease in the general population”—meaning prevention of heart disease in the first place. But, maybe those eating more bean burritos are just eating fewer beef burritos? The study took that into account, controlling for meat intake, fruits and vegetables, and smoking, and exercise. And, still, the bean-eaters appeared to be protected.

Note the highest category was eating legumes four or more times a week. In Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen (as you would have seen in Aug 2021 Healthbites), He recommends people eat legumes three times—a day! In Costa Rica, they were able to find enough people eating beans every day. Even after controlling for many of the same things, like intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, one bean serving a day was “associated with a 38% reduction in the risk of heart attack.” But do you actually get to live longer too? Yes, apparently so: an 8% lower all-over cause of mortality, again after adjusting for other dietary factors.

With reference to Michael Greger M.D. FACLM on August 10, 2018

If you compared the total antioxidant content (TAC) of these ten different legumes, which do you think would come out on top?  Pinto beans, lima beans, red kidney beans, navy beans, small red beans, black-eyed peas, mung beans, lentils and chickpeas where put to the test.

Coming in at #10, bottom of the barrel, lima beans, then navy beans, both pretty low. Then black-eyed peas, then mung beans, which is what they typically make bean sprouts out of. Then moving into the winners’ circle, kidney beans. Next, black beans, and in 3rd place small red beans following chickpeas in 2nd place, and it’s lentils for the win! Lentils pull away from the pack in terms of scavenging up free radicals. Lentils topped the charts based on a variety of different measures, maybe because they’re so small, and the nutrients are concentrated in the seed coat.