Eating beans daily may help people with type 2 diabetes lower blood sugar levels, says a new study.
Researchers from University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, found that people who ate a cup of beans a day for three months had better control over their blood glucose levels when compared to people who had a diet high in wheat fiber.
"Legumes are good protein sources, and proteins tend to dampen the blood glucose response and they lower blood pressure," said Dr. David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, lead author of the study, to Reuters.
Researchers say that switching over to foods with a low glycemic index (GI) can help people manage diabetes and keep their hearts healthy. Legumes have low GI and these include peas, beans, lentils, soy, peanuts, etc.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, involved 121 people who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into two groups; one group ate a diet rich in legumes for three months while the other ate a diet rich in whole grains. Researchers then measured the participants' blood sugar levels and assessed their risk of heart disease.
Researchers found that the blood sugar (HbA1c) level of people who were on high legume (low GI diet) fell by 0.5 percent, from 7.4 percent to 6.9 percent. This compared to the 0.3 percent reduction in blood glucose levels in people who were on whole wheat diet.
Blood pressure of people who ate legumes was also lower when compared to those who ate wheat, showing that eating legumes may protect the heart as well.
Participants who ate legumes during study period didn't report any gastrointestinal complaints, researchers said.
"In conclusion, legume consumption of approximately 190 g per day (1 cup) seems to contribute usefully to a low-GI diet and reduce CHD risk through a reduction in BP," the authors note.