Beans beans they’re good for your heart the more eat the more you…… Well you know. Beans can do more for than a bit of flatulence. They are actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Additionally, on a whole plant based diet they are one of if the most protein packed foods you can eat. Beans are common name for pulses which in turn are part of the larger family of legumes which includes other similar food items like lentils, peas (not the green peas you are probably thinking of) and even mesquite.
From a macronutritional perspective pulses are nutritionally dense. They are have proportionally good sources of protein, fiber (resistant and nonresistant), carbs, folate and minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium etc. With all of those positive nutritional benefits they are naturally low in fat and of course with them being plant based have no cholesterol. If you still are not convinced that you need to incorporate beans into your vegan diet, the next few reasons should. Here are five reasons why you should eat pulses.
Not only do beans have no cholesterol but they can also reduce your cholesterol levels as well also. A study was conducted to observe the effect a daily ½ cup of pinto beans had on cholesterol. A random group of 16 individuals were put to the test for 8 weeks. The results showed that the pinto beans lowered total cholesterol by 19 points and lowered LDL cholesterol by 14 points.
One hundred and twenty three participants were evaluated to compare the effects of a high fibre diet versus a low carbohydrate diets. After 16 weeks both diet resulted in an average of 10 pounds of weight loss.
For anybody looking for what foods that can help maintain or eradicate their blood sugar levels, then look no further. Observational studies resulted in Canadian researchers to recommend a daily intake of at least ⅔ cup of pulses daily and around 5 cups of pulses per week. This volume of dietary pulse intake results in improved satiety and subdued after meal blood sugar spikes that ultimately led to better weight management and overall improved health. It is interesting to note that the inclusion of beans have a positive effect even on a diet including animal products but they benefits are best fully realized on a whole plant based diet.
In an Iranian study 5398 adults were monitored over a period of 7 years to observe the effect what effect a diet including pulses had on risk for cardiovascular disease. The frequency of lentil consumption varied between each individual. Nonetheless, researchers still observed a correlation in general pulse consumption and cardiovascular risk disease risk factors. Researchers observed a 34% reduction in CVD risk factors in those who ate pulses.
Several studies have been conducted evaluating beans against cancer. Simply dripping pulse extract on certain types of cancers in vitro have been effective in preventing cancer growth. A study on the northeastern red bean demonstrated that a purified extract was effective in stopping the growth of breast and liver cancer cell lines. Effect was strengthened with increase concentration with higher concentrations eventually leading to cancer cell death. These results are similar to another study conducted on Northeastern China black beans. Again a hemagglutinin rich extract of the beans was evaluated to determine its effect against human cancer cell lines. The researchers in this study evaluated their potency against liver and cancer cells. Not only did the extract stop growth but also induced the death of the cancer cells by increasing white blood cell production of anticancer molecules. Again similar results were observed with extracts from pinto beans against breast and liver cancer and yardlong beans against liver cancer and leukemia.
So there you have it. Beans should definitely be included into your vegan diet regimen. Not only are they nutrient dense and satisfying, but they pack a potent punch against some of the most common diseases that affect us in the US like metabolic syndrome, CVD and cancer.