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Beans and health.
January 09, 2004

New review shows that beans reduce risk of nation's most deadly diseases.

Eating just two to four cups of cooked dry beans every week can help reduce one's risk of developing many of the nation's most deadly diseases, according to a recent report issued by nutrition experts at Michigan State University (MSU).

The review, which examined more than 25 years of research involving dry beans and various health issues, found that beans can play a critical role in diminishing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

The report's lead author, Dr. Maurice Bennink, professor of nutrition in the food science and human nutrition department at MSU, concluded that eating more beans will positively impact one's health.

"Beans are one of the best foods that you can eat to help protect against developing a chronic disease," says Bennink. "Unfortunately, beans are often overlooked in the diets of Western societies. This research should provide people with further motivation to eat more beans."

MSU researchers also found that routine consumption of dry beans helped subjects lose weight and maintain an appropriate caloric balance. The term "dry beans" refers to both beans that are dry-packaged in sealed bags and those that are pre-cooked in cans.

Key Findings
Here are the key findings:
Countries with the greatest consumption of beans had the lowest death rates due to breast, prostate and colon cancer, according to data from 41 countries.

People who ate legumes (including dry beans) at least four times per week were found to have a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease than individuals consuming beans less than once per week.
Beans were found to help individuals curb caloric intake and maintain a healthy weight because their high fiber content and their low glycemic index promotes satiety and provides sustained energy.

Beans help individuals with diabetes maintain healthy blood glucose levels due to their high fiber content and low glycemic index.

- Source: American Dry Bean Board



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