You probably already know that beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils are pretty damn good for you—they’re a great source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein—but here are two cool things that you may not have known: 1) The scientific term for these legumes is “dietary pulse” (random but interesting!), and 2) Even a small amount could help lower your bad cholesterol.
A new systematic review and meta-analysis in CMAJ finds that one daily serving of dietary pulse appears to lower your LDL cholesterol levels by about five percent. That’s noteworthy because current public health guidelines don’t encourage using legumes as an LDL-reducer.
“There are no current recommendations for dietary pulse consumption on its own as a way to benefit cholesterol levels,” study author Vanessa Ha, a research coordinator at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, told SELF.
Even cooler: Ha and her team members say that while dietary pulse’s 5% effect is nothing to shake a stick at, it may turn out that combining dietary pulse with other heart-healthy foods could be even more powerful.
“A researcher in our lab did a study looking at different foods that lower cholesterol levels, such as foods high in soluble fiber, plant protein, nuts and soy, and found that each food lowers LDL cholesterol by about five percent, but combining them all into your dietary portfolio could have an even greater effect,” Ha says.
Translation: Chickpeas are awesome (and tasty), and they’re even better when you combine them with other heart-healthy stuff.
Do you have beans in your pantry right now?
SELF is the magazine that makes living healthy easy and fun. SELF’s motto: Being fit, strong and active means feeling great, being happy and looking your most beautiful. With trademark authority, SELF speaks to women about three key areas of her being: her body, her looks and her life. SELF makes it fun and fulfilling to be your happiest, healthiest, best self. Reaching a total audience of 12 million each month, SELF is the founder of the Pink Ribbon for breast cancer awareness and an ASME National Magazine Award winner for excellence in journalistic achievement in print and digital. SELF is published by Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Bon Appétit, GQ, Glamour, The New Yorker, Wired and other celebrated media brands. Visit Self.com and follow @SELFmagazine on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foodily and Google+.
Check out these other great articles from Self.com