Edible legume seeds, such as lentils, have been shown to modulate the structural and functional properties of hypertensive blood vessels, however, the effects of dried beans have not been similarly evaluated. To determine whether beans could attenuate hypertension-induced vascular changes (remodeling and stiffness) in relation to their phytochemical content, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were fed diets containing black beans (BB; high phytochemical content as indicated by their dark seed coat colour) or navy (white) beans (NB; low phytochemical content) for eight weeks. An additional follow-up phase was included to determine how long the alterations in vascular properties are maintained after bean consumption is halted. Assessments included blood pressure (BP), pulse wave velocity (PWV), vessel compliance (small-artery) and morphology (large-artery), and body composition. Neither BBs nor NBs altered BP or PWV in SHR. SHR-BB demonstrated greater medial strain (which is indicative of greater elasticity) at higher intraluminal pressures (80 and 140 mmHg) compared to SHR-NB. BB consumption for 8 weeks enhanced vascular compliance compared to SHR-NB, as demonstrated by a rightward shift in the stress-strain curve, but this improvement was lost within 2 weeks after halting bean consumption. BB and NB increased lean mass after 8 weeks, but halting BB consumption increased fat mass. In conclusion, regular consumption of BBs may be appropriate as a dietary anti-hypertensive strategy via their positive actions on vascular remodeling and compliance.
Keywords: black beans; body composition; hypertension; navy beans; pressure myography; spontaneously hypertensive rat; vascular compliance; vascular remodeling; vascular stiffness.