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Legumes Lower Heart Disease Risk

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A steaming bowl of split pea soup is just the thing to warm your heart and protect it from disease

A steaming bowl of split pea soup is just the thing to warm your heart and protect it from disease. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Aug. 12, 2002) found that "people who ate legumes regularly had a reduced risk of coronary heart disease," suggesting that the legumes' high content of "calcium, fibre, folate, magnesium, potassium or vegetable protein may be protective." These heart-nourishing nutrients can be found in legumes such as split peas, lentils, and all kinds of beans from adzuki to kidney to soybeans.

Researchers also found that the copper in legumes may be particularly protective of the heart. Our western diet of fatty, processed foods, which is so closely associated with heart disease, is often low in copper. But people who frequently eat legumes have less hypertension, lower levels of total cholesterol and less diabetes (which can lead to heart disease), in spite of eating unhealthy saturated fats.

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