A study conducted by Dr. John Sievenpiper associated with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada has brought Indians a new ray of hope in fighting cholesterol levels. The studies are said to have found eating a single serving of peas, lentils or beans everyday can reduce bad cholesterol levels, thereby reducing people’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Dr Sievenpiper states eating one serving of pulses is sufficient to reduce bad or LDL cholesterol levels by five percent. “We have a lot of room in our diets for increasing our pulse intake to derive the cardiovascular benefits,” said Dr. Sievenpiper. A person can reduce his or her risk of cardiovascular disease by five to six percent by consuming pulses and/or beans everyday says Sievenpiper.
Pulses are low glycemic index (GI) food. Pulses breakdown slowly after being ingested and hence, the body is not flooded suddenly by sugar or glucose. He also mentioned pulses can easily reduce intake of animal protein and trans or bad fats.
For the study, Dr. Sievenpiper reviewed 26 random controlled trials, which had 1,037 participants. The study found men had greater reduction in their bad cholesterol compared to women. This was attributed to men having poorer diet and higher LDL cholesterol levels and therefore, they benefitted more when they switched over to a healthier diet of pulses and beans. Some participants in the study suffered from gas, diarrhea, constipation and/or bloating which subsided over a period of time.
Here is a rundown on what the scientists had to say about LDL-Low Density Lipoprotein. Sievenpiper stated that it is this LDL protein that transports cholesterol to the different cells in the body, but is unable to perform this task effectively or efficiently. As a result, cholesterol molecules are dropped on the way, causing it to buildup in different places along the blood vessel.
He also added that, that since LDL is smaller in size compared to HDL (high density lipoprotein), it has the ability to enter the inner wall of blood vessels, causing cholesterol buildup in the walls as well. When WBC or white blood cells rush to the damaged blood vessel walls, they try to repair it which causes more cholesterol debris to accumulate at the affected site.
The many experts involved in the research have come up with the finding that besides beans and pulses, there are other foods that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels. These foods are known as superfoods that fight bad fats and cholesterol. They stated that strawberries, high-fibre foods like whole grains and cereals, and garlic are a must include in daily diets of adults and children alike.
According to research conducted in Italy at the Università Politecnica Delle Marche, strawberries have the ability to reduce bad cholesterol by 14 percent. Foods, such as pulses, beans, whole grain and cereal, are rich in fibre. The fibre adheres to bad or LDL cholesterol, helping to remove it from the body through bowel movements. Garlic is a staple condiment in Indian kitchens and a lot of research has already been done on the curative and medicinal properties of garlic. Hence, it does not come as a surprise to learn garlic has the ability to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Garlic also prevent plaque formation in arteries, reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack, and also prevents hypertension or high blood pressure.
The study conducted by Dr. Sievenpiper is indeed great news for people with high cholesterol levels. It already is known diet change is extremely beneficial if people have high cholesterol and this study offers a simpler and cheaper method to control and reduce cholesterol levels. Dr. Sievenpiper states pulses play a significant role in several South Asian cuisines and the fact that they are inexpensive makes them attractive food to buy.