“Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…” Honestly. And there’s new research to back it up.
A new Canadian review of studies suggests that eating a daily serving of cooked beans is linked with lower levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
"We found a 5 percent reduction in bad cholesterol with one serving of legumes a day over six weeks on average," study co-author Vanessa Ha, a research coordinator at the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, told livescience.com.
The researchers evaluated data collected from 26 clinical trials involving 1,037 men and women who were primarily middle-age. Some of the trials involved healthy adults, while others included participants who were at moderate risk for heart disease.
The findings were published earlier this month in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Beans seemed to help men more than women when it came to lowering LDL levels. The researchers suggested this may be because the men had higher cholesterol levels or poorer diets to begin with.
How do beans do their magic? They might displace other foods in the diet that are high in saturated fat. Their powers may also be fueled by their high dose of heart-healthy fiber and plant protein. Healthy little legumes are also full of antioxidants. Other studies have suggested they may help prevent breast cancer.
And as for the rest of that bean ditty? While some participants in the studies did complain of an upset stomach, flatulence or bloating when they first started beaning up their diet, those symptoms subsided over time.