Beans are often underestimated – like when, in the fairy tale, Jack presented his mother with the five “magic beans” he received for their last cow, and she cast the beans out the window.  We know that those beans took Jack on a journey that eventually netted him gold coins.  Well, adding more beans to your daily diet could yield you some golden benefits as well, new research suggests.

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reviewed 26 different studies, comprised of 1,037 people, comparing dietary intake patterns with various markers for cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that adding a mere one serving of beans a day lowered LDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 6%.  Why is this important? Because higher LDL cholesterol is associated with plaque formation, causing blockages and atherosclerosis, this makes high levels a lead indicator of heart disease risk.

On average, Americans eat less than half a serving of beans a day — in other words, less than a quarter of a cup!  Here are some tips on how to double that intake:

  • Bite into something hearty and healthy with this easy-to-make recipe for Chickpea Burgers with Pineapple Sauce.
  • Spice things up with this five alarm Tempeh Chili.
  • Get cozy with this Wild Salmon and Bean Stew.
  • Black beans, shrimp, and pineapple make this Caribbean Black Bean and Fruit Salad unforgettable.

Published May 1, 2014