Diabetics can see an improvement in both their blood sugar levels and blood pressure if they add beans and other legumes to their diet, Canadian researchers report.
Chickpeas, lentils and beans are rich in protein and fiber, and these may improve heart health. Because they are low on the glycemic index, a measure of sugar in foods, they may also help control diabetes, the researchers explained.
"Legumes, which we always thought were good for the heart, actually are good for the heart in ways we didn't expect," said lead researcher Dr. David Jenkins, the Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Toronto.
Among Type 2 diabetics, "not only did their glucose control become better, but -- and this surprised us -- it had a significant effect on blood pressure," he said.