A new Canadian study has said that eating lentils – such as the ones used to cook the Indian dal – is an easy way to keep the dreaded LDL or bad cholesterol in check. The study conducted in St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto established this after observing 1,000 people who took a daily serving of legumes and reported a 5% reduction in LDL levels.
A press release sent by the Canadian Medical Association Journal quoted the study’s lead author Dr John Sievenpiper as saying that a 5 % reduction in LDL cholesterol is actually a “potential 5 % lower risk of heart disease”. Some of the study participants reported stomach problems such as bloating, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea as a result of eating legumes, but the gains were unmistakable, said the authors.
The study does lend credence to the fact that a healthy diet keeps the heart healthy. But one wonders where this leaves Indians. Indians consume legumes with every meal – dal is an integral part of the Indian thali – yet they have worrisome levels of cholesterol. Indian genetic makeup has been blamed for many of the cholesterol-related heart problems, but a closer look at the Indian thali would no doubt help control the epidemic of heart diseases. It would be worthwhile to know whether we should take an extra helping of dal or add another serving of fruit.