Lupin beans can lower risk of heart disease: researchers
News Date: 15th June 2011
A tiny bean which is usually used to feed cows in Australia can lower the risk of heart disease in humans, Australian researchers said on Tuesday.
Over 85 percent of the world's lupin crops are grown in Australian soil, and a team of researchers from the University of Western Australia said the bean is packed with protein and fibre, and is low in carbohydrates.
The researchers ground the bean down, made flour that was 40 percent lupin, and baked bread, pasta and biscuits from the product.
About 130 overweight but healthy western Australians were recruited for the research. Half of participants ate lupin flour products, while the rest consumed wholemeal goods for 12-months.
Researchers monitored heart disease risk factors in the participants, including blood pressure and the level of fat, sugar and insulin in their blood.
"At the end of the 12-month study, we saw that basically risk for heart disease was substantially lower in the group that consumed the lupin products," researcher Dr. Belski told Australia Associated Press on Tuesday.
"There was absolutely no information that (suggested lupin could) be used in human food, not only safely, but the reality is it can actually give a health benefit.
"A bean we've had in our country for many, many years that's pretty much just gone to cattle can actually be improving the heart health of Australians."
Dr. Belski said researchers also observed an improvement in insulin sensitivity in the lupin group, prompting more research on the bean's benefits.