Lentils are key to beating high blood pressure
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EATING a diet packed with lentils could be the answer to
overcoming high blood pressure.
Willey: : Scientists have discovered
that the humble pulse can have a dramatic impact on lowering dangerous blood
New research also revealed that lentils can reverse declines in
blood vessel health.
The study – conducted on rats – showed that adding the
health-boosting food to the diet can effectively block the increase in blood
pressure that occurs with age.
The findings also indicated that eating lentils can reverse the
changes that occur in blood vessels as a result of high blood pressure.
Dr Peter Zahradka, one of the lead investigators for the Canadian
study, said: “These are amazing results, since they provide a
non-pharmacological way of treating diseases associated with blood vessel
Dr Zahradka and Dr Carla Taylor, from the University of Manitoba
recently presented their research at the American Heart Association’s conference
in Dallas, Texas.
The findings are a continuation of two studies published earlier
One of these was a clinical trial which revealed how eating
legumes – specifically a mixture of beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas – could
improve blood flow to the legs of people with peripheral artery disease, a
condition which is closely linked to coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular
The second showed that lentils were effective in blocking high
Dr Zahradka added: “The most notable finding of the latest study
was the fact that lentils could alter the physical properties of blood vessels
so that they resembled the vessels found in healthy animals.”
Human studies will still be needed to confirm these findings.
However, Dr Julianne Curran, director of nutrition, scientific
and regulatory affairs for Pulse Canada, the national association representing
growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulse crops, said: “Lentils could be
part of a simple, cost-effective dietary strategy to improve cardiovascular
This is the latest research to hail the benefits of beans and
legumes in the diet.
Last year, a study carried out at the University of Toronto by Dr
David Jenkins, of the city’s St Michael’s Hospital, revealed that eating more
pulses – including beans, chickpeas and lentils – can reduce the risk of heart
disease by controlling blood sugar levels.