Beans for Health Alliance
January 24, 2007
Northarvest has been an ongoing supporter of the Beans for Health Alliance. The mission of this international alliance is to promote the health benefits of dry beans and other pulses. Their approach is twofold: 1) to identify and promote bean-based solutions to chronic health and nutritional concerns in both developed and developing countries, and 2) to increase bean/pulse consumption and thus expand market opportunities for the global dry bean industry. Activities conducted in 2006 included:
" Funding clinical research to determine the health promoting attributes of beans and related pulses. The research focused on populations in developed and developing countries which rely on beans for daily nourishment.
" Educating public health officials and hunger professionals around the world about the health benefits of beans.
" Participating in key conferences to promote research findings on the nutritional benefits of beans.
" Sponsoring international conferences to bring together world bean nutrition experts.
" Supporting a website that serves as the primary resource for bean-related research
BHA participated in nutrition-oriented conferences and meetings including:
" International Edible Legume Conference, April 17-22, 2005, Durban, South Africa
" International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables FAV HEALTH 2005, August 17-20, 2005, Quebec, Canada
" 18th International Nutrition Conference Nutrition Safari 2005, September 19-23, 2005, Durban, South Africa
" American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo, October 22-25, 2005, St. Louis, Missouri
" Food 3000: BHA Presentation to American Dietetic Association Spokespeople, April, 2006, Montreal, Canada.
The BHA also established the Bean Health Research Program for the purpose of adding to the growing body of scientific evidence regarding the health benefits of dry beans and related pulses. Four research projects have been completed thus far:
" Effect of Resistant Starches from Beans on Changes in Lower Bowel Bacterial Populations, Production of Short Chain Fatty Acids, and Changes in Blood Lipid Profiles in Humans.
" Assessment of the Long-Term Effects of Pinto Bean and Black Eye Pea Consumption on Biomarkers for Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes Risk.
" Utilization of a Bean-Based Food to Improve Nutritional and Immune Status amd Mortor Performance in HIV+ Children in Botswana.
" Defining the Health Benefits of Dry Beans.
The expectation of the BHA is that the scientific findings from these studies will be published in peer reviewed scientific journals within the coming year and thus stimulate interest within the health, nutrition and dietetics communities to focus more on beans and related pulses.
The Northarvest financial contribution to the U.S. Dry Bean Council consolidation will continue support for research and development projects such as these.