Three ‘cholesterol-busting’ foods could slash risk of heart disease
This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease
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High levels of cholesterol in your arteries can pave the way for an even bigger problem – heart disease. Considered a major killer worldwide, heart disease is an umbrella term for conditions that target your heart or circulation. Fortunately, three humble foods could lower your risk of these serious conditions by cutting your cholesterol.
Cheap yet versatile, pulses lend themselves to a variety of recipes and meals, ranging from humble beans on toast to creamy lentil dhal.
Packed with fibre, protein and healthy fats, the little foods present more than just a pleasant-tasting grub.
In fact, beans, peas and lentils could keep your cholesterol levels in check, consequently lowering your risk of heart disease.
The reason why these three foods offer “cholesterol-busting” powers comes down to their fibre content, according to Heart UK.
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The charity explains that some types of fibre can help to lower your levels of the fatty substance.
It states: “It blocks some cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream.
“Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils are particularly high in this kind of fibre.”
What’s more, the charity isn’t the only one to highlight the potent effects of eating pulses.
A study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that a pulse-based diet decreased total cholesterol by 8.3 percent, making the little foods an “effective” choice.
Looking at 108 individuals aged 50 years or older, the research team served the participants two servings of pulse-based foods or instructed them to follow their regular diet for two months.
This regimen was followed by a month washout period, after which each group switched to the other diet for two months.
The study looked at beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils, in particular. All of which brought about cholesterol reduction.
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What’s more, pulses don’t only lower your cholesterol levels but they can also slash your risk of heart disease, according to Heart UK.
Because high cholesterol is one of the precursors of heart disease, keeping the fatty substance in check has positive effects on your heart as well.
The British Heart Foundation explains that just one portion of pulses provides about a third of the fibre you need for the entire day, which means they can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
To reap all the benefits, research suggests you should go for about 130 grams of pulses each day.
This represents around one-third of a can of beans, which can be bought for as little as 59p depending on your go-to bean variety and the store where you shop.
Heart UK adds that three tablespoons of beans, peas or lentils should do the trick.
From chickpeas to red lentils, the good news is that all options count towards this goal.
It doesn’t even matter whether you opt for fresh, tinned, frozen or dried pulses, the charity adds.
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