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Eat to beat cholesterol with low GI legumes – beans, peas and lentils.
They aren’t labelled “cholesterol-fighters” like oats, barley or nuts, but eating just one serving of legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas a day can help reduce “bad cholesterol” according to the findings of a meta-analysis published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that reviewed 26 randomized controlled trials.

beans, peas and lentils

The researchers suggest that a single serving of legumes a day – about 130 grams or three-quarters of a cup – is enough to lower LDL cholesterol by 5%. That would translate into a 5 or 6% reduction in risk of heart disease. “Legumes have a lot of amazing things in them,” says co-author Dr John Sievenpiper. “They are a whole food, they have wonderful vitamins and minerals, sticky fibres that lower cholesterol, plant protein, and a low GI value. Consuming more legumes could also cut down on trans fats or processed meat because you’re reaching for plant protein over animal protein. Have some oatmeal in the morning, nuts as a snack and bean salad for lunch, for example. Each food would take on about a five per cent decrease in bad cholesterol,” he says. They also contain resistant starch. This clip, The Hungry Microbiome, shows why resistant starch is good for you.

Scroll down to the GI News Kitchen to up your legume intake with Chrissy Freer’s fabulous Salmon with White Bean Mash (reprinted courtesy www.taste.com.au); or Sophie Hansen’s Braised Cannellini Beans with Garlic and Rosemary (from Local Is Lovely reprinted courtesy Hachette Australia).

Could wild-harvested wattleseed bread be a soy and linseed success story? 
Wattleseeds are legumes and like other legumes they are extremely nutritious, have a low GI are gluten free and high in protein and fibre. Back in 1987, when Sydney University researchers substituted 18% of the wholemeal (wholewheat) flour in bread for high-protein, wild-harvested wattleseed flour (Acacia coriacea), they found that it significantly lowered both glucose and insulin responses in the six healthy participants taking part in the study. “The findings suggest that wattleseed (Acacia) flour, when used to dilute wheat flour in the manufacture of breads, biscuits, pastes and dampers, could be particularly useful in the diets of people with diabetes,” says Prof Jennie Brand-Miller, “and may be a way of encouraging all Australians to consume more slow-release foods.”
Bake your own wild-harvested wattleseed bread: We don’t have the actual recipe, but the study reports it was made with “18% A. coriacea flour and 82% wholemeal wheat flour. Yeast, water and salt were added to produce a dough which was fermented for 10–16 hours, kneaded and baked.” If you want to try it, you can buy wild-harvested wattleseed flour (A. victoriae) from Lyle Dudley of Bushfood Australia. Let us know how you fare info@gisymbol.com. We would love to publish your recipes and pictures on the GI Symbol Facebook page with full acknowledgment of course.

Wattle with seeds

Wattleseeds: According to ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Lifestyle, 47 sorts of wattles growing in southern Australia produce seeds we can eat. Talking about traditional use they say: “The Aborigines ground the dried wattle seeds between stones to form a flour which was then baked as a damper. These seed grinding practices appear to be a relatively recent technological development. It is thought that Aboriginal people in central Australia have been grinding grass or wattle seed for no more than 4000 years. Green seeds are also eaten, taken green like peas. It is currently believed that only desert dwellers ate acacia seeds, with the exception of coastal South Australian and Tasmanian tribes, which roasted the pods and then ate the seeds of Acacia sophorae (coast wattle).”
Thanks to Ian Hemphill who explained why we needed to buy Lyle’s raw ground wattleseed (a flour) not Herbies roasted and ground wattleseed (a spice). Herbie does have a risotto recipe using wattleseed spice and bush tomato which we are going to try with pearl barley. Watch this space.

Skinnyfish Music's latest video.
In Spear Dodging, the latest in the series promoting better health in Aboriginal communities, the traditional knowledge and skill of dodging spears becomes a metaphor for dodging illness, and urges people to visit health care facilities for a check up.

New GI values: Devondale Smoothies. 
These low GI smoothies are Australian School Canteen approved (Green) and provide 14% of the recommended daily intake of calcium for children. They are “made simply with Aussie milk and real fruit. With no artificial additives and no cane sugar, it’s the snack you don’t have to worry about,” says the manufacturer’s website. However, for those parents who do worry about added sugars, these smoothies contain added fructose as well as the fruit purees and natural flavours and of course the Banana and Honey Smoothie has honey in it.

Banana and Honey Smoothie GI 28 
Tropical Smoothie (mango/pineapple/passionfruit) GI 31