Cholesterol Vs. Beans
By Emilia Klapp, American Dietetic
Association Registered Dietician:
For centuries, legumes or dry beans,
have played an important part in the fight against heart disease in the
Mediterranean countries. Here’s why…
- Legumes contain essential minerals and vitamins such as iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, folic acid, and some of the B-complex vitamins.
- They are low in fat and sodium, which make them an ideal food to keep high cholesterol and high blood pressure at bay.
- Legumes are also high in soluble fiber, the kind that lowers cholesterol.
- They can help balance your budget because they are very inexpensive.
- Studies show that people who eat dry beans regularly have a lower risk of suffering from heart attacks than the ones who barely eat them. In fact, one study showed that consuming legumes four times or more per week, compared with less than once a week, lowered the risk of heart disease by 22 percent.
As you can see, dry beans are an
almost perfect food.
How Eating Legumes
Will Help You Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
1. Dry beans contain high amounts of soluble and
Soluble fiber means that the fiber
dissolves in water and forms a jelly-like paste with other foods in the
intestine. This feature is very important because it reduces the amount of
cholesterol circulating in your blood. Soluble fiber not only lowers LDL
cholesterol, the “bad” guy, but it also raises HDL cholesterol, the “good”
Insoluble fiber does not have any
effect on cholesterol but it is very beneficial for our whole body because
it acts as a natural laxative
2. Dry beans help remove toxic waste and
cholesterol in you system.
Bile, produced by the liver, is a
substance necessary to break down the fat we ingest in food. To produce
bile, the liver grabs the cholesterol from the blood, converts it into bile,
and sends it to the gallbladder where it’s stored until needed. Then, when
we eat, the gallbladder sends the bile to the intestines to help break down
the fat portion of the food. Once the bile has done its job in the
intestines, one of two things can happen:
- If our meal has enough soluble fiber, the fiber grabs the bile and takes it out of our body through the feces. Once the bile is eliminated, the liver responds by drawing more cholesterol from the blood to make new bile. The result is less cholesterol circulating in our system.
- If our meal does not have enough soluble fiber, the bile is not taken out of the body. In this case, the liver doesn’t need to draw more cholesterol from the blood to produce more bile because there is plenty available in the system. The result is more cholesterol navigating in our blood vessels.
3. Dry beans stops cholesterol from even forming.
When our meal includes soluble
fiber, bacteria in the colon ferment it. This fermentation produces certain
compounds that prevent the formation of cholesterol in the first place. This
results in lower levels of cholesterol circulating in your blood vessels.
4. Dry beans stop homocysteines
from causing heart attacks.
Homocysteine is a substance our body
needs to produce certain compounds vital for our organs to function
properly. To produce homocysteine, our bodies need adequate amounts of
vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid. However, when any of these vitamins is
lacking, homocysteine is not converted into the necessary compounds. It then
spills into circulation.
Many studies have shown that when
homocysteine accumulates in our system, it becomes toxic. Even in small
amounts, it will dramatically increase your risk of heart disease. High
levels of homocysteine concentrations in our blood may cause a heart attack
or a stroke, even among people who have normal cholesterol levels. Here’s
How can homocysteine cause heart attacks?
Abnormal levels of homocysteine can:
How to Lower Cholesterol, Prevent
Homocysteine from Accumulating in Your Blood, & Reduce Your Risk of Heart
Eat foods that contain folate, as
well as vitamins B6 and B12. Legumes are an excellent source of folate and
contain moderate amounts of B6. Recent data show that the practice of
fortifying foods with folate has reduced the average level of homocysteine
in the U.S. population.
Based on studies conducted during
more than 25 years, nutrition experts at the Michigan State University
concluded that eating 2 to 4 cups of cooked dry beans every week can protect
us against heart disease. So start eating dry beans, garbanzo beans and
About the Author
With her new book, “Your Heart Needs
the Mediterranean Diet”, American Dietetic Association Registered Dietician
Emilia Klapp has helped thousands of people just like you lower high blood
pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and remove the risk of heart disease.
For more information on the book and to receive a free especial report on
the “Top 10 Mediterranean Curative Ingredients” go to: