Americans aren't eating enough beans, putting heart health at risk

Eating more legumes like beans may improve your heart health, according to a new study, lowering the risk for chronic conditions that may result from issues like high blood pressure. A new study published in Advances in Nutrition notes that, on average, Americans aren't eating the recommended quantity of legumes weekly, meaning a simple dietary change may help protect the health of many people.

Cardiovascular disease remains the biggest cause of death around the world, burdening the healthcare systems and increasing overall costs by billions of dollars. Preventing this disease, however, has proven tricky: a combination of lifestyle factors and genetics are at play, requiring people to take different steps to minimize their overall risk.

Keeping one's blood pressure within the healthy range, avoiding processed foods and red meat, eating a variety of whole foods with polyphenols and fiber, and getting regular exercise are among the many lifestyle factors that can help protect one's overall heart health.

When it comes to diet, the newly published study found that increasing the amount of legumes you eat may decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure, at least based on a review of cohort studies.

The study found that people who ate the greatest quantity of legumes had a lowered risk for these heart health issues by up to 10-percent.

Officials recommend that adults eat around three cups of legumes every week, which could be as simple as a couple of bowls of soup. However, the study notes that the average American eats less than a single cup weekly; increasing that number may have a positive effect on public health.