Diabetes : Beans May Reduce Heart Risk in Diabetes

Eating a cup of beans or lentils every day may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar and possibly reduce their risk of heart attacks and stroke, according to a Canadian study.

Researchers, whose results appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that compared with a diet rich in whole grains, getting a daily dose of legumes led to small drops in an important measure of blood sugar as well as in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

After three months on the bean diet, study participants’ estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease had fallen from 10.7 percent to 9.6 percent, according to the group. "Legumes are good protein sources, and proteins tend to dampen the blood glucose response and they lower blood pressure," said David Jenkins of St Michael's Hospital in Toronto, who led the study. "They are also good sources of fiber, and that tends to be associated with lower cholesterol."

Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils are already recommended for people with diabetes because of their low glycemic index, a measure of how far and how fast a given food sends up blood sugar. But there are few studies of their direct effects on diabetes, according to Jenkins.

The public should be doing some preventive strategies using these foods, he said. "We are not introducing some novel 'Frankenfood', this is really deep, traditional stuff."

- Reuters Daily News
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