Sometimes I come across neat nutrition/journal articles and this one was so interesting that I wanted to share it.
Apparently, eating legumes (beans, lentils, soy, tofu, miso, natto, peans, chickpeas, etc.) are so healthful for us that a study of long-lived individuals showed that the more legumes consumed, the better your health:
Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities.
Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(2):217-20.
To identify protective dietary predictors amongst long-lived elderly people
(N= 785), the "Food Habits in Later Life "(FHILL) study was undertaken among
five cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia. Between 1988 and 1991,
baseline data on food intakes were collected. There were 785 participants
aged 70 and over that were followed up to seven years. Based on an
alternative Cox Proportional Hazard model adjusted to age at enrollment (in
5-year intervals), gender and smoking, the legume food group showed 7-8%
reduction in mortality hazard ratio for every 20g increase in daily intake
with or without controlling for ethnicity (RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.85-0.99 and RR
0.93; 95% CI 0.87-0.99, respectively). Other food groups were not found to
be consistently significant in predicting survival amongst the FHILL
(Full text of the article can be found here, although it is in pdf form)
Later in the article, there was another quote I found interesting:
"The significance of legumes persisted even after controlling for age, gender and smoking. Legumes have been associated with long-lived food cultures such as the Japanese (soy, tofu, miso, natto), the Swedes (brown beans, peas) and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans)."
Translated, that means that an increased intake of legumes was shown to be statistically beneficial EVEN IF the people eating them were older than the others in the study, males instead of females, and smokers instead of non-smokers. That's a big deal!
I've been trying to learn different ways to eat beans and legume products. Right now, since I've been eating Eat to Live for so long, my tried-and-true method is to put generous amounts of canned beans (straight from the can, because I like the way it tastes on salad) on my salads, along with my tomatoes, etc. Dr. Fuhrman (of Eat to Live) asks that we eat a cup of legumes/beans per day. I haven't been eating that much, but as I transition out of weight-loss into weight-maintenance, I will have more daily calories with which to play, and that will free me up to boost my legume consumption!