Legume Consumption and Cardiometabolic Health

Adv Nutr. 2019 Nov 1;10(Suppl_4):S437-S450. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz003.


Legumes are key components of several plant-based diets and are recognized as having a wide range of potential health benefits. Previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses have summarized the evidence regarding different cardiometabolic outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D), and legume consumption. However, those studies did not differentiate between nonsoy and soy legumes, which have different nutritional profiles. The aim of the present updated review, therefore, was to summarize and meta-analyze the published evidence regarding legume consumption (making a distinction between nonsoy and soy legumes) and cardiometabolic diseases. In addition, we reviewed randomized clinical trials assessing the effect of legume consumption on CVD risk factors in order to understand their associations. The results revealed a prospective, significant inverse association between total legume consumption and CVD and coronary heart disease risk, whereas a nonsignificant association was observed with T2D and stroke. In the stratified analysis by legume subtypes, only nonsoy legumes were associated with lower risk of T2D. Unfortunately, owing to the paucity of studies analyzing legumes and CVD, it was not possible to stratify the analysis for these outcomes. Because of the high degree of heterogeneity observed for most of the outcomes and the few studies included in some analyses, further prospective studies are warranted to determine the potential role of legume consumption on CVD and T2D.

Keywords: cardiometabolic health; cardiovascular disease risk factors; nonsoy legumes; pulses; soy legumes; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • Fabaceae*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Seeds*