New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows the potential for a positive impact from the great northern bean.
In the study, hamsters were fed a diet rich in fatty foods, which was supplemented with 5 percent great northern bean.
The results showed the hamsters had a weight similar to those on a low-fat diet, without the bean.
“On the fatty diet, the cholesterol not only went down, it went down similar to what we saw in the low fat diet,” Dr. Vicki Schlegel, associate professor of Food Science, tells the Nebraska Radio Network.
Schlegel says the great northern bean-supplemented diet seems to prevent fatty livers as well.
She plans to do more research with the bean and animals before trying to see its impact on humans.
“I also want to understand more about what’s going on with the weight, because I’ve never seen that before,” she says. “We’re also seeing that it might be modulating the microbiome positively. That is becoming more and more in the press, that if you have a great microbiome, you’re healthier.”
Schlegel says the hamsters were fed ground, dry beans, so another test is needed with cooked great northern beans.
“They had carbohydrates. They had certain nutrients and we just supplemented the crushed beans into this diet,” Schlegel says. “They were allowed to eat it as much as they wanted. We didn’t restrict them at all. All of them ate, despite what it was in it, the same amount.”
Nebraska is the number 1 producer of great northern beans in the country. It is the number 2 producer of pinto beans, which Schlegel is also studying for its health benefits.