Hummus for Heart Health

I’ve talked previously about the anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects of various phytonutrients in beans, but beans have protective effects on the cardiovascular system as well. As one review found, plant-specific compounds can have a remarkable impact on the health care system and may provide therapeutic health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases and disorders. Plants have antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory effects, protect our livers, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help prevent aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, DNA damage, heart disease and other disorders. Those without legumes in their daily diet, for example, may be at quadruple the odds of suffering high blood pressure.

Legumes such as chickpeas have been used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes for thousands of years—and they can also lower cholesterol levels. Researchers took people on high fat diets in Northern India with cholesterol levels comparable to the Western world (up around 206 mg/dL) and swapped in chickpeas for some of the grains they were eating. In five months, their cholesterol levels dropped to about 160, almost to the target of around 150. Cholesterol was reduced more than 15 percent in most of the subjects, and the sustained drop not only indicated a definite effect of the chickpeas, but also that chickpeas are a vital cholesterol-lowering substance. In a randomized crossover trial, two servings a day of lentils, chickpeas, beans or split peas cut cholesterol levels so much that many participants moved below the range for which statin drugs are typically prescribed.

In the India study, although the subjects’ cholesterol levels were comparable to the Western world at the start of the treatment with chickpeas, the participants initially started on a really low fat diet. So low  that their cholesterol levels started out at 123, well within the safe zone. Only after packing their diets with saturated fat were they able to boost their cholesterol up to typical American levels, which could then be ameliorated by adding chickpeas. So it would be better if they just ate healthy in the first place. Or even better, healthy with hummus: a healthy diet with lots of legumes.

Beans dips like hummus are among my favorite go-to snacks. I like to dip snap peas and red bell pepper slices in them. I’d love to hear everyone’s favorite recipe.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of DeathMore Than an Apple a Day, and From Table to Able.

Related
Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?
Increased Lifespan From Beans
Why You Should Eat More Beans

125 comments

One Heart i
One Heart inc3 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

Noted

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Marianne R
Marianne R8 months ago

Love Hummus

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Marianne R
Marianne R8 months ago

Thank you

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Lisa M
Lisa M8 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M8 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M8 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M8 months ago

Noted.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Maritza D.
Maritza Dabout a year ago

Thanks for the info. Hummus is great!

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