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Legumes are the Most Important Dietary Predictor of Longevity

"Legumes have for some time been connected with long-lived cultures...."

Many studies have shown that different peoples in various parts of the world have cuisines that enable them to live longer, such as in Mediterranean cuisines and in Japan. A recent study shows that certain foods are particularly protective against risk of death across cultures and ethnicities. The study, called Food Habits in Later Life, was conducted under guidance of the Union of Nutritional Sciences and the World Health Organization. It examined individual food groups—vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, cereals, dairy, meat, fish, alcohol, and monounsaturated/saturated fat ratios—as predictors of mortality among people aged 70 and over. The study was controlled for ethnicity, gender and smoking. Of all the food groups, legumes alone had consistent and statistically significant results.

Among the cultures studied—Japanese, Greeks, Anglo-Celtic Australians, and Swedes—the results showed that for every 20 grams increase in daily legumes intake there was an 8% reduction in the risk of death. That’s less than an ounce increase per day of legumes ranging across cuisines from soy, tofu and miso in Japan, to brown beans and peas in Sweden, to lentils, chickpeas and white beans in the Mediterranean. The authors of this study even made a comparison with Key’s classic Seven Countries Study in the 1960s. There were variations among the different food groups across the different cultures with one exception—legumes. Legumes have for some time been connected with long-lived cultures, and this study shows that no matter what your ethnic background or where you live, eat more legumes to live longer, especially as you age.

Darmadi-Blackberry I, Wahlqvist ML, Kouris-Blazos A, Steen B, Lukito W, Horie Y, et al. Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities. Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr 2004;13(2):217-220.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15228991

 

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Study Dispels Myth of Intolerable Flatulence from Eating Pulses

Pulses have been studied extensively for their numerous health benefits.

Pulses have been studied extensively for their numerous health benefits. They are low in fat and high in fiber, attributes that have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Chickpeas, lentils, and green peas also are an inexpensive source of protein. Yet the consumption of these important pulses traditionally has been low in Western societies, due in part to the idea that they cause intolerable levels of flatulence and gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Researchers studied whether moderate consumption of pulses in healthy individuals causes digestive disturbances.  A certain amount of gas is natural in helping the digestive system process pulses and help them move through the GI tract, and that regular consumption of pulses helps to build up a tolerance to flatulence.

Prior to this study, no other research had been done to assess whether gas and GI upset is really an issue when healthy individuals consume moderate amounts of pulses, so the authors conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study with 21 healthy males aged 19-40. They reported that flatulence and GI stress was not a significant factor in regular moderate pulse consumption, and that some difference was reported in the type of pulse eaten. In some cases flatulence was higher in different phases of digestion with different types of pulses. Overall, the findings show that regular moderate consumption of pulses does not increase flatulence to the point that you should avoid them—so soak those pulses, cook them thoroughly, and chew them well.

Veenstra JM, Duncan AM, Cryne CN, Deschambault BR, Boye JI, Benali M, et al. Effect of pulse consumption on perceived flatulence and gastrointestinal function in healthy males. Food Res Int 2010;43:553-559.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096399690900218X

 

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Ongoing Research Proves the Power of Peas

"Research to date has shown the power of peas to have a role in many health benefits in humans...."

In this recent review, the authors look at the demonstrated benefits of peas as well as the potential health benefits beyond their basic nutritional status. Bioactive proteins and peptides in peas have potential anticancer and immunomodulatory properties. The carbohydrate components of peas are a slowly digestible starch and relatively high fiber content, which make it a low-glycemic index food for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. The fiber also contains a special family of sugars called oligosaccharides, or prebiotics, which promotes beneficial gut microbes. Vitamins and minerals in peas show concentrations of high potassium levels, as well as iron, magnesium, and manganese along with folate, an important B vitamin. Because of the phytate content in peas and legumes generally, the absorption of minerals can be limited, but with advanced food processing techniques these minerals can become more bioavailable.

Research to date has shown the power of peas to have a role in many health benefits in humans, including epidemiological, in vitro, and interventional studies. One of these benefits includes cardiovascular health in controlling blood pressure cholesterol levels, particularly from the fiber content. Another benefit could improve weight management by satiety levels from the protein and fiber in peas, but more research needs to be done. Gastrointestinal function is improved by the consumption of peas, again due to the fiber content but also the beneficial effects of prebiotics on the micro-flora environment in the gut. The phenolic compounds in peas also have shown beneficial antioxidant activity. We know peas have great nutritional value even though more research needs to be done to investigate specific health benefits, but in the meantime we can strive to meet the federal daily guidelines of 3 cups of legumes every week.

Dahl WJ, Foster LM, Tyler RT. Review of the health benefits of peas (Pisum sativum L.). Brit J Nutr 2012;108:S3-S10.

 

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The Many Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus

Chickpeas are known by many names, including garbanzo beans

Chickpeas are known by many names, including garbanzo beans, and have been an important food crop in India and more increasingly, the U.S. The nutrient profile of this important pulse crop includes a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Chickpeas are also full of phytochemicals such as sterols, carotenoids, and isoflavones. This goes for canned chickpeas as well, although they must be rinsed well to avoid too much sodium. Because of these nutrients, the many health benefits of pulses, including chickpeas and the most common recipe made from them, hummus, are their role in reducing chronic diet related diseases: obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

This study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey taken during 2003-2010, focusing on information that showed the dietary intake of both chickpeas and hummus. Some of the researchers’ findings revealed an overall better diet quality of chickpea/hummus consumers because they had lower intakes of added sugars, total fat, and cholesterol. Consumers also had lower body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index. People who ate chickpeas and hummus consumed more of other nutritional foods like whole fruit and vegetables and whole grains, suggesting that they “may have an overall healthier diet than non-consumers.” Another great benefit found was that the carbohydrate of chickpeas is very slowly digested, resulting in less of the starch being absorbed in the small intestine. Findings from this research show that health professionals and nutrition programs should encourage more consumption of pulse crops, including showing people how to make a great batch of hummus.

O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni III VL. Chickpeas and hummus are associated with better nutrient intake, diet quality, and levels of some cardiovascular risk factors: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010. J Nutr Food Sci 2014;4(1). 

 

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Getting Pulses into Our Food System

Beans, pulses, legumes—which word do we use?

Beans, pulses, legumes—which word do we use? The authors begin this review article with a refresher in definitions of how these foods are all related. First, “legumes” is the all-encompassing word for dry fruit and pods containing dry seeds that fix nitrogen into the soil. Generally, legumes can be split into two categories, pulses and another category that includes soybeans, peanuts, green beans, and green peas. The pulse category can be further broken down into two types: dry beans, and another type that includes chickpeas, dry peas, and lentils. The distinction is made between these two types because chickpeas, dry peas, and lentils have different growing conditions, growth structure, and maturation than that of the dry bean type. Commonly, then, these three crops are collectively referred to as pulses, while dry beans, although technically pulses, are in their own category of edible bean crops.

Because pulse crops are so nutritious, inexpensive, and gluten-free, some of the ways they can be added to our food system are being researched continually. Chickpeas are high in protein, available carbohydrate, and crude fiber contents, and low in fat. They supply thiamin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Extruded chickpeas could expand snack products offerings currently using corn, the advantage being higher protein content and nutritional quality. Lentils and dry peas also have a similar nutritional profile as chickpeas. Lentils can be ground to a flour to make lentil cakes or a coating for vegetables, and dry pea flour can be mixed with wheat flour to produce new products for baking and frying. These value-added products “represent good alternatives to traditional cereal-based snacks” and “would increase pulse consumption.”

Asif M, Rooney LW, Ali R, Riaz MN. Application and opportunities of pulses in food system: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2013;53:1168-1179.

 

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Lentils' Role in Reducing Blood Pressure and Remodeling Arteries

Pulse crops are an important part of vegetable intake...

Because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world, current research aims to find solutions to alleviate its risk factors. One such risk factor is high blood pressure. Dietary approaches make sense in prevention and mitigation of hypertension, including the popular DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Increasing vegetable intake is an important part of a healthy diet, especially in view that some research shows many of us do not even come near to consuming the recommended daily amounts suggested by the FDA. Pulse crops are an important part of vegetable intake, and this study aims to single out different properties of pulse crops and their health benefits, specifically lentils.

In this study, lentils above all the other pulses were found to attenuate a rise in blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Further, it also found a lentil-based diet to be able to attenuate aortic remodeling. Past studies have shown that all pulses are able to decrease levels of circulating cholesterol, but this is the first one that focuses on a specific pulse, lentils, in its ability to “affect the pathways involved in vascular remodeling and hypertension.” More studies are called for to determine the exact mechanisms involved in these results, but in the meantime, dig out Grandma’s lentil soup recipe and start cooking.

Hanson MG, Zahradka P, Taylor CG. Lentil-based diets attenuate hypertension and large-artery remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Br J Nutr 2014;111:690-698.

 

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Diabetes and Pulses: A Current Review

One of the most important and effective ways to prevent and manage chronic disease is dietary change.

Because type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent world health problem, especially for its role in cardiovascular disease and death, there is an increased need for effective disease management. One of the most important and effective ways to prevent and manage chronic disease is dietary change. Research into plant food materials, especially those of cost-effective and highly nutritive pulse crops, is important to show how they can be used in creating better health. Pulse crops especially have many antidiabetic properties.

The chickpea features in a number of studies with animal models that show its hypoglycemic and subsequent action on cholesterol levels. Lentils have been researched using a few human studies where comparisons were made on blood glucose levels with a diet of lentils and canola oil against one of bread and cheese. Total cholesterol and fasting blood glucose were lower in the lentil protocol. Dry peas were also reviewed for their anticholesterolemic and antihyperglycemic actions in both human and animal studies, showing similar effects as the other pulses. Because type 2 diabetes is considered a lifestyle disease, improvement in dietary intake that includes pulses is important in reducing the enormous costs they inflict. “Dietary intervention with a diet rich in legumes seems to be a natural, cost-effective, and free from side effects solution for the prevention and treatment of [type 2 diabetes].”

Singhal P, Kaushik G, Mathur P. Antidiabetic potential of commonly consumed legumes: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2014;54(5):655-672.

 

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Eating Pulses Helps Reduce Appetite in the "Second-meal Effect"

Among pulses’ many nutritive properties are their high complex carbohydrate content, including soluble and insoluble fiber, and slowly digestible and resistant starches.

Among pulses’ many nutritive properties are their high complex carbohydrate content, including soluble and insoluble fiber, and slowly digestible and resistant starches. These properties contribute to their low glycemic index, and can have an effect on blood glucose even after later meals, termed the “second-meal effect.” The authors studied pulses in order to show the role they play in reducing blood glucose after later meals, which also means a reduction in appetite, implicating their importance in weight loss through blood glucose control.

Healthy men ages 18-35 were recruited to participate in the study which included consumption of chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, yellow peas, and white bread, all served with tomato sauce. They had to fast 10-12 hours the night before and were given one of the five foods for breakfast, with blood glucose measurements taken at various intervals. After a couple of hours, the test subjects were given pizza and water with further blood glucose measurements. Although all pulses were better at lowering postprandial glycemia compared with white bread, chickpeas and lentils were more effective in reducing appetite in the “second-meal effect” in measurements taken one hour after the pizza meal. Of course, a great way to have your pizza and eat it, too is to include chickpeas and lentils on the pizza.

Mollard RC, Wong CL, Luhovyy BL, Cho F, Anderson GH. Second-meal effects of pulses on blood glucose and subjective appetite following a standardized meal 2 h later. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2014;39:849-851.

 

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Pulses Save the Day for Gluten-free Snacks

This study evaluates the potential of pulse food fractions and flours to be used on a wide scale in manufacturing gluten-free friendly snack products.

Humans have relied on snack crackers since historic times when people were on the move for one reason or another. This travelling food has low moisture content and essentially no leavening which makes it handy for nourishment and requires little processing time. Crackers are usually made from grain products, but the market is wide open for the potential of introducing pulse based cracker products because of their high nutritional content and their gluten-free quality. This study evaluates the potential of pulse food fractions and flours to be used on a wide scale in manufacturing gluten-free friendly snack products.

After various pulse cracker products were developed, they were tested by consumers and generally found to be acceptable in shape and texture. There was, however, a tendency for the crackers to be too salty. Other spices or a different formulation could be used to cut down on sodium content, as this is an issue in the chickpea product in order to compensate for its strong flavor. The nutritional profile was also developed for a prototype food label, and found that these crackers have a higher iron content than grain based products. All in all, the potential market for pulse crackers and other snack products is excellent, and with the nutritional benefits provided by pulses, we can snack in good conscience.

Han J, Janz JAM, Gerlat M. Development of gluten-free cracker snacks using pulse flours and fractions. Food Res Int 2010;43:627-633.

 

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The Role of Health Organizations in Promoting Pulse Consumption

“Pulses are seen as a staple food because they are nutritious and provide most of the ingredients that help to improve health…this could encourage more consumers who are concerned about their health to consider eating pulses more frequently.”

We all know that eating pulses is good for our better health, but how do we get that message? It is the role of health organizations to advise the best nutritional path in order to prevent and alleviate chronic disease. Vegetarianism is one such path where organizations such as the Vegetarian Society UK and the Vegetarian Resource Group “promote vegetarianism as a good option for remaining healthy and avoiding metabolic diseases.” They usually refer to the American Dietetic Association in learning how to approach a meat-free diet that relies on pulse foods, grains, fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Other organizations involved with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity also promote plant based diets that utilize pulses in order to provide protein and other nutrients as well as fiber for good nutrition and a feeling of satiety.

In the past, most groups would point to the dangers of eating diets high in saturated fat and added sugars. Now, the tack is to promote the healthiest foods, including a diet rich in pulses, instead of emphasizing what to avoid. Usually when we strive to include the whole plant foods we need for total nutrition we end up avoiding those that are detrimental to our health. “Pulses are seen as a staple food because they are nutritious and provide most of the ingredients that help to improve health…this could encourage more consumers who are concerned about their health to consider eating pulses more frequently.”

Leterme P. Recommendations by health organizations for pulse consumption. Br J Nutr 2002;88(S3):S239-S242.

 

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Split Pea Pasta

"...pulses are so rich in vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals,..."

Because pulses are so rich in vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals, their introduction into pasta products can increase nutritional value of these foods. They add more protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals as well as amino acids lysine and threonin. The implications for pasta processing are to find a way to incorporate legume flour for ease of manufacturing. Water needs to be reduced and mixing speeds need to increase in order to process legumes into pasta. Split peas and fava beans were used in this study because these are legumes that are not usually used in processing. Fortifying pasta with legume flour resulted in a higher hardness and elasticity but also had a higher fracturability. Further work needs to be done in order to better incorporate legume flours into pasta “at an industrial scale in order to produce easily fortified pasta products while controlling the sensorial and nutritional quality of the final product.”

Petitot M, Boyer L, Minier C, Micard V. Fortification of pasta with split pea and faba bean flours: pasta processing and quality evaluation. Food Res Int 2010;43:634-641.

 

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How Cooking Affects Nutritional Factors of Pulses

Pulses have many nutritional components

Pulses have many nutritional components, but they also contain a number of anti-nutritional constituents: trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid, tannins, and oligosaccharides. Trypsin inhibitors are a type of protein that inhibits the digestive enzyme trypsin. Phytic acid reduces mineral bioavailability. Tannins can form with other proteins to decrease the digestibility of protein and lower the availability of amino acids. Oligosaccharides are responsible for gas formation and flatulence. Researchers sought to find out how cooking affects these anti-nutritional properties as well as the beneficial nutrients in beans and chickpeas. Protein, starch, fat, and fiber all were increased significantly by cooking, while reducing tannins and oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are especially reduced during soaking time, so plan ahead and put some chickpeas in water before going to bed.

Wang N, Hatcher DW, Tyler RT, Toews R, Gawalko EJ. Effect of cooking on the composition of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.). Food Res Int 2010;43:589-594.

 

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Anti-nutritional Properties of Pulses—The Bad and the Good

Pulses have a multitude of nutritional benefits including protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

As most know, pulses have a multitude of nutritional benefits including protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But many are not familiar with the many anti-nutritional properties of pulses, some of which are the reasons we soak them and cook them for longer periods of time than other dry foods such as whole grains. Pulses evolved anti-nutritional properties in order to prevent consumption from predators during adverse conditions. These properties are referred to as anti-nutritional compounds (ANCs) and categorized as protein and non-protein ANCs. Non-protein ANCs are relatively harmless and include alkaloids, phytic acid, saponins and other phenolic compounds. Protein ANCs have a range of potentially harmful components and are commonly represented by lectins, agglutinins, trypsin inhibitors, chymotrypsin inhibitors, and anti-fungal peptides.

Some studies have shown that “certain protein ANCs may have beneficial effects on human health after adequate processing procedures.” The present review focuses on three ANCs that have potential health benefits: lectins, protease inhibitors, and ACE [angiotensin converting enzyme] inhibiting peptides. ANCs are named thus because if pulses and other legumes and their flours are consumed raw, they can harm human health by gastrointestinal upset and blood coagulation. But when cooked, these factors are reduced. However, scientists are looking towards the nutraceutical applications of ANCs such as cancer prevention, immune enhancement, anti-inflammatories, hypertension treatment with ACE inhibitor factors, and antioxidant activity. Considering the potential health benefits of ANCs, the authors suggest that perhaps ‘antinutritional’ is a misnomer. At any rate, raw food movement or no, remember to soak and cook well your pulses and other legumes for best health. 

Roy F, Boye JI, Simpson BK. Bioactive proteins and peptides in pulse crops: pea, chickpea and lentil. Food Res Int 2010;43:432-442.

 

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Recent Review of Pulse Intake and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Recent Review of Pulse Intake and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

.” This review of recent studies aims to add to the body of research to show evidence for dietary guidelines that emphasize pulses in the diet for better health and decreased risk of cardiovascular health problems.

One of the greatest risks for cardiovascular disease is abnormal concentrations of blood lipids, or high cholesterol levels. Pharmaceutical intervention has had an impact; however, “major health organizations have maintained that the initial and essential approach to the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease is to modify dietary and lifestyle patterns.” This review of recent studies aims to add to the body of research to show evidence for dietary guidelines that emphasize pulses in the diet for better health and decreased risk of cardiovascular health problems.

Some studies used pulse flours, some the whole food pulses, and the remainder used a combination. There were some gastrointestinal symptoms, such as upset stomach, flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and constipation, and increased stool frequency. Most of the studies showed that these temporary discomforts were improved with continued intake of pulses. Together, these studies suggest that there is a reduction in LDL cholesterol with about a serving (½ cup) a day intake. This could be a challenge for some populations such as the United States where the median intake is 0.2 servings a day. But with all the health benefits, including effects on other cardiometabolic risk factors such as body weight, blood pressure, and glucose control, we should make more of an effort to include pulses in our diet every day.

Ha V, Sievenpiper JL, de Souza RJ, Jayalath VH, Mirrahimi A, Agarwal A, et al. Effect of dietary pulse intake on established therapeutic lipid targets for cardiovascular risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Can Med Assoc J 2014;186(8):E252-E262.

 

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Complete Nutritional Support From Both Grains and Pulses

Recent review looks at the nutritional and health benefits of both beans and grains, and how they complement one another.

Another recent review looks at the nutritional and health benefits of both beans and grains, and how they complement one another. Nutritional components of whole grains include complex carbohydrates offering dietary fiber, starch, and oligosaccharides. Whole grains also offer a low-fat source of protein as well as vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and magnesium. A recent study referring to whole grain consumption with its content of phytic acid may play a role in dental health. Whole grains also give us carotenoids and lignins. Pulses offer high amounts of fiber (much higher than whole grains), carbohydrates including starch-resistant, and oligosaccharides. They are higher in protein, and as some of the amino acids differ between whole grains and pulses they complement each other when consumed. Another study shows that the glycemic impact of eating refined grains can be mitigated by combining it with beans, as in a meal containing white rice and red beans, or hummus and bread.

Since consumption of these nutrient dense foods falls way below the recommended amounts, ways to increase intake are important. One of the reasons whole grain consumption is lower is because “consumers are confused as to what constitutes a whole-grain product.” For example, a product that states that it contains whole grains but is not listed as the first ingredient can have anywhere between one to 49 percent whole grains. Other reasons why there are issues with consumers getting adequate intake of grains and pulses are that they can be associated with lower socio-economic status, can have a bland taste, can have a tendency to produce flatulence, or a lack of knowledge in their preparation. “Nevertheless, there is a need to establish more convenient delivery systems for pulses in familiar food forms to lower the energy density of these foods and provide health benefits.”

Rebello CJ, Greenway FL, Finley JW. Whole grains and pulses: a comparison of the nutritional and health benefits. J Agr Food Chem 2014;62:7029-7049.

 

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Current Review of Pulses' Benefits

Pulses have been in use as human food for at least 10,000 years, and have current applications for animal feed and biofuel as well, with economic impact second only to cereal grain crops.

Pulses have been in use as human food for at least 10,000 years, and have current applications for animal feed and biofuel as well, with economic impact second only to cereal grain crops. This review examines five areas of importance in human pulse consumption. The nutritional composition of pulses includes a high carbohydrate content with slow digestibility of starches, high fiber content, a good source of mono- and polyunsaturated fat, plant sterols, and micronutrients, including selenium, thiamine, niacin, folate, riboflavin, pyroxidine (B6), vitamins E and A, iron, and zinc. The protein content is high in lysine, but low in methionine and tryptophan, which cereal grains provide, so the combination of the two provides an optimal amino acid profile. Many dietary approaches emphasize the inclusion of daily servings of pulses for greatest health benefits from the USDA Health and Human Services recommendations, to the DASH [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension] diet for hypertension relief, as well as the Mediterranean diet, gluten-free diet, and vegetarian diet. Pulse consumption’s effect on nutrient intake is substantial, with studies showing enhanced micronutrient intake for the above mentioned nutrients when pulses are included in the daily diet. Sodium intake was also higher, however, because of the use of canned beans, which can be mitigated by draining and rinsing the beans and making your own chili and soup instead of buying prepared products.

Many studies have also shown pulses’ benefits on various cancers, mostly colorectal, prostate, breast, lung, esophageal and stomach cancers because of their fiber, micronutrient, and antinutrient content. Pulses also benefit and prevent cardiovascular disease because of their action on blood pressure, platelet activity, lipid profiles, and inflammation. The resistant starch in pulse products is helpful with diabetes, weight management, HIV, and aging and stress. We should all include consuming pulses and other bean products in our daily menus for increased health and chronic disease prevention and management.

Mudryj AN, Yu N, Aukema HM. Nutritional and health benefits of pulses. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2014;39:1-8. dx.doi.org/10.1139./apnm-2013-0557.

 

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Can Pulses Increase Satiety for Weight Loss Success?

Because about 80 percent of weight loss interventions fail, many due to hunger and food cravings, pulses can be an important area of research because of their role in satiety.

This review says that it may, but more studies need to be done with obese human subjects. Because about 80 percent of weight loss interventions fail, many due to hunger and food cravings, pulses can be an important area of research because of their role in satiety. Pulses are high in protein and fiber, two important components in glycemic control linked to appetite reduction. The researchers were interested in the consumption of whole pulse foods, not their specific isolates, in determining levels of appetite satiety in aiding weight loss.

Some of the results of this review were very positive, showing analysis that there was a 31 percent increase in satiety after subjects consumed pulses compared to controls. However, the second meal effects of studies they reviewed did not show any significance, so that area of research needs more attention. Overall, the researchers state the need for more high quality long-term trials in order to “strengthen the emerging evidence for the relationship between dietary pulses, satiety, and weight management.”

Li SS, Kendall CWC, de Souza RJ, Jayalath VH, Cozma AI, Ha V, et al. Dietary pulses, satiety and food intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis of acute feeding trials. Obesity 2014;22:1773-1780.

 

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ACE-inhibitors Might Be Extracted from Pulses in the Future

ACE-inhibitors Might Be Extracted from Pulses in the Future

One of the main risks of cardiovascular disease is hypertension, which is commonly treated with [angiotensin converting enzyme-] ACE-inhibitor drugs. Because these drugs may have unpleasant side effects such as coughing, taste alteration, and skin rashes, many research studies aim to find a food derived alternative from ACE-inhibitory peptides. These could then be introduced into functional foods or produced as dietary supplements. Active peptides have already been obtained from milk proteins, and a few from plant seeds. This study looks at legumes such as lupins, chickpeas, lentils, and peas, among others.

The most promising results of obtaining protein hydrolysates from pulses were found with lupin trials. However, this work has shown that “some plant proteins may become a valuable source of ACE-inhibitory peptides, which in the future may be used for the formulation of functional foods or dietary supplements for the prevention or treatment of hypertension.” Studies like these can reveal the potential of using protein isolates from pulses in the application of natural dietary supplementation, helping to avoid the unpleasant side effects of some prescription medications.

Boschin G, Scigliuolo GM, Resta D, Arnoldi A. ACE-inhibitory activity of enzymatic protein hydrolysates from lupin and other legumes. Food Chem 2014;145:34-40.

 

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