And, like all foods from The Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy plant sources, legumes do not contain cholesterol. They are also a good source of soluble fiber, which can lower blood cholesterol levels.Legumes are inexpensive, nutrient-dense sources (having many vitamins and minerals) of plant protein that can be substituted for dietary animal protein. While meat is often rich in saturated fats, the small quantities of fats in legumes are mostly the heart-friendly, unsaturated fats.
Not only are legumes excellent sources of essential minerals, they are rich in dietary fiber and other phytochemicals that may affect health. Clinical trials have found that increasing the consumption of dry beans resulted in modest (6-7%) decreases in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Dry beans are rich in soluble fiber, which is known to lower cholesterol.
A study conducted to examine the effect of legume consumption on cardiovascular disease risk found after 19 years of follow-up that men and women who ate dry beans, peas, or peanuts at least four times weekly had a risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) that was 21% lower than those who ate them less than once weekly.Eating 3 cups (6 servings) of legumes weekly is recommended for people who consume about 2000 calories per day.