Everyone seems to be worried about their level of cholesterol-and doctors are keen to prescribe statin drugs in order to reduce it-but just eating one serving of pulses, such as beans, lentils or chickpeas, every day is all you need to do to keep it in check, researchers say this week.
Pulses "significantly" reduce levels of the so-called bad LDL cholesterol, and so lessen chances of cardiovascular disease, say researchers at St Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
One serving-which is 130 grams or three-quarters of a cup-every day reduces levels of LDL cholesterol by around five per cent, which would translate into a five to six per cent reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
But right now, the typical American diet includes less than half a serving of pulses every day, says lead researcher Dr John Sievenpiper. Pulses are the basis of many diets around the world, they are low-glycaemic-which means they break down slowly and don't raise blood sugar levels-and they are inexpensive, he says.
(Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2014; doi: 10.1503/cmaj.131727)