Benefits Of Beans For Peripheral Vascular Disease

“Benefits of Beans for
Peripheral Vascular Disease” Legumes, by which they mean all kinds of beans, chickpeas, split peas, and lentils, are an excellent source of many essential nutrients—vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, and not
just an excellent source, perhaps the single cheapest source. In terms of nutrition density per penny, the four that really pull off from the pack are pinto beans, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans. And, all that nutritional quality may have beneficial effects on excess body weight, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, inflammation, and oxidative stress— 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 less beef burritos? They 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
here was eating legumes 4 or more times a week. In my Daily Dozen, I recommend people eat legumes three times—a day! In Costa Rica, they were able to find enough people eating beans every day, and so, 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. Yeah, but do you actually get to live longer too? Yes, apparently so, an 8%
lower all-cause mortality, again after adjusting for
other dietary factors. You can’t control for everything, though. You can’t really prove cause
and effect until you… put it to the test. Randomized controlled
interventional trials have found that dietary bean intake does significantly reduce bad cholesterol levels, dating back a half century to 1962. Measure cholesterol levels at baseline, and then add beans to their diet, and then remove beans from their diet. And, look, beans have
a low glycemic index and saturated fat content, and are high in fiber, potassium, and plant protein, each of which independently confers blood pressure-lowering effects. But, whether there’s sufficient evidence to emphasize beans alone
to lower BP is unclear. Therefore, what we need is a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials and… here it is. And, what they found is that beans do indeed lower blood pressure no matter where you start out. OK. So, beans may be able to prevent artery disease, but what about reversing it? Can the daily consumption of beans— other than soy, reverse vascular impairment due to peripheral artery disease? Peripheral artery disease results from a decrease in blood flow to the legs due to a buildup of atherosclerotic plaque higher up. Yeah, soybeans may help, but what about other beans? So, they had twenty-six individuals with peripheral artery disease consume one serving a day
of a combination of beans, split peas, lentils, and
chickpeas for 8 weeks. Basically, how you diagnose
and follow-up the disease is with the ankle-brachial index, which is just the ratio of blood pressure at your ankle compared to your arm. Once it dips below point nine, that means you must have some kind of clogs in blood flow
to your lower body, but eat some beans, and you may get a significant increase, enough to push four of 26 participants up into the normal range after just 8 weeks, eating some beans! Now, there was no control group, but people tend to get
worse, not better. The researchers conclude a legume-rich diet can elicit major improvements in arterial function.
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