Research Shows Benefits of Eating Legumes For Diabetics

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 14, 2012

Diabetes remains a prevalent issue among American seniors. According to the American Diabetes Association, 26.9 percent of all people over the age of 65 have the disease. Now, a new study is suggesting eating legumes may be a way to help manage the illness.

Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that eating beans, chickpeas and lentils could improve a diabetic patient's glycemic control and reduce their coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.

The study's authors used 121 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and split them into two groups – one that consumed a high amount of legumes and one that ate whole wheat products for three months.

Those who increased their legume intake by at least one cup a day showed a decrease in their hemoglobin A1c values by a greater amount that those who had the high wheat fiber diet. The hemoglobin A1c test helps people see how well their diabetes is being managed with blood sugar monitoring, according to WebMD.

The researchers noted that these findings were important, given that the prevalence of diabetes is becoming increasingly prevalent.

"These findings linking legume consumption to both improved glycemic control and reduced CHD risk are particularly important because type 2 DM is increasing most rapidly in the urban environments of populations in which bean intake has traditionally been high," the authors wrote.