The body of research has shown that soybean protein and other dietary fiber can help reduce serum cholesterol levels, which increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Now a new study indicates that legumes, which are high in bean protein and water-soluble fiber, may offer an important dietary approach to preventing CHD in the general population.
According to the November 26, 2001, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, there is a significant inverse relationship between legume intake and CHD risk. Researchers studied 9,632 men and women over a period of 19 years as part of the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey using a three-month food frequency questionnaire. Those who ate legumes four or more times per week had a 22 percent lower risk of CHD than those who ate legumes less than once weekly. The researchers concluded that increasing legume intake may be an important way to reduce the incidence of CHD.