Legumes, Whole Grains Lower Heart Disease Risk
According to a recent study, replacing refined grains such as white bread and white rice with whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice) and dried beans and peas may help lower your risk of heart disease.
In the study, 76 men with heart disease ate either a powder containing whole grains and plant products or their normal diet containing refined rice. They ate this way for 16 weeks. Patients eating the whole grain powder:
- Decreased blood sugar by 24 percent
- Decreased insulin levels by 14 percent
- Increased daily fiber intake by 25 percent
- Increased vitamin E by 41 percent
Additionally, markers of plasma lipid peroxidation, a body process that, when increased, indicates increased heart attack risk, decreased by 28 percent for the whole grain consumers. And patients with and without diabetes who ate the whole grain powder showed an increase in their ability to process insulin.
Switching to whole grains and legumes is a matter of getting into a new habit. It's no more difficult to buy whole grain bread than white, and brown rice takes just a little longer to cook than white rice. Dried beans are available already cooked in cans and jars, so it's not necessary to soak them overnight and then simmer.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology; 2001;21:2065-2071