Research shows that lentils can reverse damaging effects of high blood pressure.

Researchers have found that lentils can lower blood pressure and reverse declines in blood vessel health. While not yet tested on humans, the study showed that adding lentils to the diet can effectively block the increase in blood pressure that occurs with age. The findings also indicate that eating lentils can reverse the changes that occur in blood vessels as a result of high blood pressure.

“These are amazing results, since they provide a non-pharmacological way of treating diseases associated with blood vessel dysfunction,” said Dr. Peter Zahradka, one of the study’s lead investigators.

University of Manitoba scientists Drs. Carla Taylor and Zahradka conducted their research at the
Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine. Their research was selected for presentation at the prestigious American Heart Association conference in Dallas, in November.

The investigation is a continuation of two studies published earlier this year. One study was a clinical trial that indicated eating legumes, specifically a mixture of beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas, can improve blood flow to the legs of persons with peripheral artery disease, a condition that is closely linked to coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. The second study showed that lentils were effective in hindering high blood pressure.

According to Zahradka, “the most notable finding of the latest study was the fact that lentils could alter the physical properties of blood vessels so that they resembled the vessels found in healthy animals.”

“Lentils could be part of a simple, cost-effective dietary strategy to improve cardiovascular disease,” commented Dr. Julianne Curran, Director of Nutrition, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs for Pulse Canada.

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