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Bean Promoters' Study Reports Numerous Health Benefits

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"Beans are one of the best foods that you can eat to help protect against developing a chronic disease," according to a report from Maurice Bennink, professor of nutrition in the food science and human nutrition department at Michigan State University, who was the lead author of a recent study on beans and various health issues.

According to the MSU researchers, consuming two to four cups of cooked dry beans per week can result in many positive health benefits. Dry beans, they note, include heirloom beans as well as more common supermarket varieties such as pinto, navy and lima; they do not include green beans.

The study's major findings:

* Regular consumption of beans can help curb caloric intake and help people maintain a healthy weight.

* Heavy bean-consuming countries had lower rates of breast, prostate and colon cancers than countries that consume few beans.

* People who ate legumes (including dry beans) at least four time a week had a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease than individuals who ate beans less than once a week.

* Beans can help people with diabetes maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

The complete report is available on the Web site of the American Dry Bean Board:

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