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J Nutr. 2005 Jul;135(7):1770-5.

Decreased consumption of dried mature beans is positively associated with urbanization and nonfatal acute myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Legumes may protect against myocardial infarction (MI). The objective of this study was to determine whether consumption of dried mature beans (referred to as beans), the main legume in Latin America, is associated with MI. The cases (n = 2119) were survivors of a first acute MI and were matched by age, sex, and area of residence to randomly selected population controls (n = 2119) in Costa Rica. Dietary intake was assessed with a validated FFQ. Of the population, 69% consumed > or = 1 serving of beans/d (1 serving = one-third cup of cooked beans, approximately 86 g). Consumption of > or = 1 serving/d was significantly higher (P < 0.001) in rural (81%) than in urban (65%) areas. Individuals who never eat dried beans or whose consumption was < 1 time/mo were classified as nonconsumers. Compared with nonconsumers, intake of 1 serving of beans/d was inversely associated with MI in analyses adjusted for smoking, history of diabetes, history of hypertension, abdominal obesity, physical activity, income, intake of alcohol, total energy, saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, and cholesterol [odds ratio (OR) = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.45-0.88]. No further protection was observed with increased number of servings/d (OR = 0.73; 95% CI: 0.52-1.03 for > 1 serving/d). In summary, we found that consumption of 1 serving of beans/d is associated with a 38% lower risk of MI. No additional protection was observed at intakes > 1 serving/d. These findings are timely given the trend toward increased obesity, cardiovascular disease, and a reduction in the intake of beans in Latin American countries.

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