Heart disease prevention can start with just one helping of pulses per day

Chickpeas, beans, lentils or peas can reduce “bad cholesterol” with just one serving per day, according to a research study by Canadian researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto and published in CMAJ.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol is supposedly one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.  But non-oil-seed pulses, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas (which are already recommended as part of dietary guidelines to prevent major chronic diseases) were found in this study to lower LDL levels.

Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effects of consumption of pulses on reducing LDL cholesterol. 26 RCTs were reviewed, involving 1,037 people. Overall, people who ate just one serving (3/4 cup) of non-oil-seed legumes a day exhibited a 5 per cent reduction in LDL cholesterol.