High cholesterol: Pulses are a ‘cholesterol-busting’ food that could lower high levels

High cholesterol is a scary concept, especially as the silent condition can lead to heart disease and stroke. While high levels don’t ring too many alarm bells, there’s plenty of ways to cut the culprit. One food which could do just that are pulses.

Dr Claire Shortt, Lead Scientist and Nutritionist at FoodMarble, said: “Pulses are a great source of fibre, plant protein, healthy fats and micronutrients (folate, potassium, iron, niacin, and riboflavin).

“They have been shown to help control the level of cholesterol in the blood.”

Apart from packing all sorts of protein and nutrients, pulses are rich in fiber, making them a good choice for your cholesterol.

The expert said: “The fibers (soluble and insoluble) help regulate the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and also promote the growth of a diverse and healthy gut microbiome.”

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Fibre’s magic comes down to its ability to block cholesterol absorption, according to Heart UK.

Contained mainly within fruits and veggies, some types of fiber are able to block some cholesterol from being absorbed from your gut into your bloodstream.

In case you’re not aware, pulses that are particularly high in fiber include the likes of beans, peas and lentils.

What’s more, the little sources of protein are also research backed.


A study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, looked at 108 individuals aged 50 years or older.

These participants were given two servings of pulse-based foods or followed their regular diet for two months.

This period was followed by a month washout period, after which each group switched to the other diet for two months.

In terms of the pulse sources, the study looked at beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils.

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The researchers found that the pulse-based diet decreased total cholesterol by 8.3 percent, making it an “effective” choice for cholesterol reduction.

How many pulses should I eat?

Shortt said: “In a meta-analysis (review of multiple clinical trials), results showed that LDL cholesterol was reduced by five percent when 130g of pulses were eaten per day.

“This equals to eating one-third of a can of beans each day.

“I would regularly substitute red meat for pulses, as they are a great option for adding texture and variety to meals.”

What’s more, pulses are also considered a low-glycaemic food thanks to their fiber content, which means they are slower to digest.

Thanks to this, the little foods could make you feel full for longer.

“This can help you maintain a healthy weight as well as lower your blood cholesterol,” the expert noted.

Heart UK shares it doesn’t matter whether you opt for fresh, tinned, frozen or dried veggies and pulses as they all count.

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