Pulses Reduce Cholesterol
The cholesterol debate continues to roll on, with the use of statin medications continually on the rise. These medications have caused a divide within the medical profession. Many GP’s and cardiologists have questioned their use and effectiveness in preventing heart disease. The facts show that more people are prescribed statins than before, and this number growing. Many people are not able to tolerate side effects such as muscle pain and tiredness, which are fairly common with statins.
Changes in diet and general lifestyle can make significant changes to cholesterol levels. Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital have found that pulses like beans and lentils “significantly” reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, and therefore reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease. It is worth noting that LDL cholesterol, alongside HDL cholesterol is required for good health.
The study was led by Dr. John Sievenpiper of the hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre and was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The results of the study found that eating one serving (130 grams or ¾ cup) of pulses a day could lower LDL cholesterol by five per cent. According to Dr Sievenpiper, this translates into a 5 – 6 per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This study demonstrates a simple, effective and inexpensive way to reduce cholesterol levels, increase fibre intake and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. An added benefit is that pulses have a low glycemic index, as they breakdown slowly, and don’t raise blood sugar levels.