High cholesterol can develop when Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors in the liver are not functioning properly. Eating foods which are processed or full of saturated fats will only exacerbate this even further. Fortunately, eating more of this food type is known to help lower your levels.
Legumes, which are also known as pulses, are a group of plant foods which includes beans, peas and lentils.
Legumes contain a large portion of fibre, minerals and protein.
By replacing some refined grains and processed meats in the diet with legumes can lower the risk of heart disease.
Harvard Health said: “Legumes, especially beans, are especially rich in soluble fibre.
“They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal.
“That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight.
“With so many choices — from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.”
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Legumes lower a person’s blood cholesterol in a number of ways.
Legumes contain both soluble and insoluble fibres which assist in lowering cholesterol absorption in the gut.
This promotes a healthy growth of beneficial bacteria in the large bowel.
Legumes also take longer to digest in the body compared to processed foods which all help in lowering cholesterol levels.
In a study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the effects of dietary pulse intake on lipid targets for cardiovascular risk reduction was investigated.
The study noted: “We searched electronic databases and bibliographies of selected trials for relevant articles published.
“The lipid targets investigated were low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, apolipoprotein B and non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol and pooled data using a random-effects model.
“Our findings suggest that dietary pulse intake significantly reduces LDL cholesterol levels. Trials of longer duration and higher quality are needed to verify these results.”
The NHS added: “Eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.
“Adopting healthy habits, such as eating healthy, balanced diet and keeping active, can also help prevent your cholesterol levels becoming high in the first place.
“It’s important to keep your cholesterol in check because high cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
“If you’re concerned about your cholesterol, talk to your GP.”