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Lower Cholesterol Levels with Beans and Lentils
If you are one of the many people who do not like to eat beans and lentils, maybe you will start putting some beans and lentils on your plate to lower cholesterol. Beans and lentils are also deemed as super foods for better heart health. Read further to find out why.
- Beans and lentils are high in protein and low in fat. They are excellent sources of fiber which is important for lowering cholesterol levels.
- These legumes also contain potassium, which helps improve your heart’s ability to pump blood to your entire body.
- They have many other health benefits, including lowering your risk of heart disease and regulating blood sugar levels.
Beans and Lentils for Preventing Heart Diseases
Beans are rich sources of folic acid that helps protect you against any heart diseases. Folic acid is responsible for breaking down and for preventing the build-up of the amino acid known as homocysteine. A person who has high levels of homocysteine becomes three times more vulnerable to stroke and heart attack.
- Eating a cup of cooked dry beans provides approximately 264 mcg of folic acid, which is already more than one half your daily recommended amount of folate intake.
A research conducted at the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine or CCARM showed that eating beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils on a daily basis can significantly improve blood vessel functioning which can be very beneficial especially to people who are plagued with peripheral arterial disease or PAD.
Beans and lentils also contain complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and phytochemicals which can all be responsible for promoting a healthy heart.
- Another reason why beans and lentils promote better heart health is the fact that these foods have favorable effects on your blood glucose, blood pressure and insulin levels. Add to that the benefit of being less likely to become obese and overweight.
Beans and Lentils for Lowering Cholesterol
Beans and lentils are devoid of saturated fats and cholesterol and are low in sodium content. Eating these legumes on a regular basis will help in reducing serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
- It is also important to note that beans, lentils and other legumes can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels without affecting the HDL or good cholesterol levels.
Some studies also showed that a diet high in dry beans can significantly lower your cholesterol levels in just a matter of two or three weeks. Beans and lentils are also heavy with dietary and soluble fiber which helps slow down the absorption of lipids and gradually reduce cholesterol levels. Its soluble dietary fiber can also improve the excretion of fecal bile acid which can lead to a reduction of fat absorption and cholesterol. This finding remains consistent on any clinical research made on the benefits of beans and lentils for four decades already.
Preparing Beans and Lentils
Beans have to be soaked for up to eight hours prior to cooking. The larger the bean, the longer it needs to be soaked. After soaking, add more water for up to three times the amount of beans, let it boil for a few minutes, remove from heat and let it cool down for one hour. Drain the soaking water and then start cooking it according to your preferred dish.
Lentils do not have to be pre-soaked. Just wash it thoroughly to remove any debris. Once done rinsing the lentils, boil them. Cooking time for lentils may vary depending on its color. For red lentils, you need twenty minutes, while green lentils may need 30 to 45 minutes and brown lentils may take 45 minutes up to one hour for cooking time.
Eating a healthy diet is the first step to reducing and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Nutrition is so important for complete heart health. Why not start today with a healthy diet plan and include a few beans and lentils in your meals.