Top 8 Benefits Of Kidney Beans, Nutrition, And Side Effects

From improving heart health to strengthening the bones – these beans can do it all!

Medically reviewed by Lauren Smith, MS, RD, LDN Lauren Smith Lauren SmithMS, RD, LDN facebook_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
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The benefits of kidney beans are gaining the attention of many health enthusiasts and researchers. They add a delicious flavor and texture to popular dishes and are especially known for their unique appearance (resembling kidneys). Their beneficial nutrients are known to cut down the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. This post discusses the many other ways kidney beans benefit your health. Scroll down to know!

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Kidney Bean

What Is It?
An American legume that resembles a kidney in shape as well as color.

What Are Its Benefits?
It is good for muscle building, diabetes treatment, heart health, weight loss, and beneficial during pregnancy.

Who Can Use It?
Anyone who is not allergic to it can consume it.

How Often?
It can be consumed daily in moderation.

Caution
Excessive consumption can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain and, in severe cases, hemagglutinin poisoning and organ damage.

How Are Kidney Beans Good For You?

Are kidney beans healthy? Yes, the beans are rich in protein. They are some of the richest sources of plant protein, a nutrient that helps build muscle mass. And the fiber in the beans boosts digestive health and keeps serious ailments like colorectal cancer at bay. Kidney beans contain other essential nutrients like iron, copper, folate, and manganese, which maintain several vital bodily functions.

protip_icon Trivia
Some people may confuse red kidney beans with adzuki or pinto beans of the same color.

That’s the brief. And now, we get to the details – how kidney beans can enrich your life in a wonderful way.

What Are The Benefits Of Kidney Beans?

1. Kidney Beans Aid Diabetes Treatment

According to the American Diabetes Association, beans, in general, can help regulate blood sugar levels – better than most other starchy foods (1). The protein in the beans also helps in this regard. Researchers have also found that pairing kidney beans with rice can stop unhealthy sugar spikes.

The beans also contain what researchers call slow carbohydrates – which means the carbs break down and are slowly absorbed from the intestines – avoiding sudden sugar spikes. Beans also contain soluble and insoluble fibers, both of which prevent blood sugar spikes. The insoluble fiber helps lower the cholesterol levels as well. High cholesterol is another issue with diabetics. And thanks to the low glycemic index, kidney beans can be a good addition to the diabetes diet.

2. Protect The Heart

Protect The Heart
Image: Shutterstock

Bean consumption, including kidney beans, has been found to cut the risk of heart disease (2). In other studies, kidney bean consumption led to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels. The colonic fermentation of soluble fiber has been found to lower bad cholesterol levels – and the beans, being rich in fiber, can help accomplish this.

Kidney beans are also rich in potassium, another important nutrient known to regulate blood pressure levels. Potassium supplementation is important as most processed foods that we consume are low in potassium – making us deficient in the mineral.

Did You Know?

Brazil is the largest producer of kidney beans (and beans, especially) in the world, while the United States is No. 6..

3. Help Prevent Cancer

Kidney beans are outstanding sources of antioxidants that help combat cancer. And the fiber they contain, as we discussed, helps fight various forms of digestive cancers.

Research has also linked high intake of flavonolsi  Colorless molecules present mainly in the outer tissues of fruits and vegetables with antioxidant properties, and they help reduce oxidative stress. to reduced risk of cancer. And since the beans have a high concentration of flavonols, they can be beneficial for cancer patients (3). According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the lignansi  A large group of naturally occurring nutrients in plants, particularly seeds, whole grains and vegetables with anti-inflammatory and estrogen-like properties. and saponinsi  Naturally occurring compounds found in legumes that help protect against skin damage due to their antioxidant properties. in kidney beans have the ability to fight cancer (4).

Can Aid Weight Loss
Image: Shutterstock

4. Can Aid Weight Loss

Kidney beans can aid weight loss
Image: Shutterstock

The number one reason for this is the fiber in kidney beans. Scores of studies have shown how fiber can positively impact weight. Fiber keeps you full and also increases the thermic effect of the food (the energy it takes to break down food). Kidney beans protein content is high, which makes it more filling than carbs and may aid weight loss too.

Research has also gone into isolating alpha-amylase inhibitors from kidney bean extracts – these inhibitors help prevent starch absorption and breakdown, and can hence aid weight loss (5).

In yet another study, a group of subjects on a tablet containing the bean extracts had seen a significant reduction in their body weight, body mass, and adipose tissues in a matter of 30 days (6).

5. Kidney Beans Help Strengthen Bones

Kidney Beans Help Strengthen Bones
Image: Shutterstock

The calcium and magnesium in kidney beans can strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis. And the folate in the beans helps maintain joint health – thereby reducing the risk of bone diseases, including osteomalacia (the softening of bones) and osteoporosis.

Some research also shows that kidney beans might be good for individuals with gout – due to their protein content (even though they contain moderate amounts of purines) (7).

6. Are Good For Babies

Kidney beans contain essential nutrients that help in the growth and development of babies. They are high in calcium and potassium, which are important for bone strength. They also contain protein, an essential building block for growth and development.

The folate in kidney beans also plays a major role in the brain development of babies.

7. Are Beneficial For Bodybuilding

Are Beneficial For Bodybuilding
Image: Shutterstock

As kidney beans are rich in carbs, they provide sustained energy for your training sessions. But ensure you have beans in your meals, and not immediately post workout. You want to take simple carbs post workouts, so beans may not be a great option. The beans also contain protein – a nutrient that offers all the essential amino acids to the body. Remember to also take high quality protein sources with BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) and 2.5 grams of leucinei  An essential amino acid that is biosynthesized by the skeletal muscles to provide energy during exercise or physical activities. within at least 30 minutes post workout – these are especially effective for muscle building, something which kidney beans may not offer.

Kidney beans are also calorie-dense, which can be a huge plus for bodybuilders. And the magnesium in the beans plays an important role in protein synthesis – the nutrient also helps in muscular contraction and relaxation.

8. Could Be Important During Pregnancy

The best part about kidney beans is that they contain protein, fiber, iron, and antioxidants – all of which are quite essential, especially during pregnancy (8). Your blood volume increases during pregnancy, and this means you need more iron to produce more hemoglobin. And iron, along with folate, helps in the baby’s cognitive development.

The fiber in kidney beans helps your pregnant digestive tract function properly. This is because, during this period, hormones can interact with the digestion process and lead to constipation. The optimum amount of fiber in kidney beans can help avoid this.

Did You Know? The top 5 bean varieties grown in the US are – pinto beans, navy beans, black beans, kidney beans, and the Great Northern beans.

That’s about the crucial benefits of kidney beans. Reap these benefits by trying the delicious recipe given below.

Kidney Beans Recipe

1. Spiced Kidney Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To Prepare

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until they become translucent.
2. Add in the cumin and paprika and let the spices become aromatic.
3. Toss in the red bell pepper, then sauté the ingredients for a few minutes.
4. Add the kidney beans and diced tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
5. Simmer the dish for 15-20 minutes until the flavors meld and the sauce thickens.
6. Serve it hot, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Jessley, a vlogger, elaborated on the health benefits of consuming rajma, also known as red kidney beans. She also shared tips on how and when to consume kidney beans to avoid digestive discomfort. She said, “I consume almost all varieties of kidney beans available, but my favorite is the small dark red shiny that is a kashmiri rajma. This variety absorbs more flavor and it retains its bright or beautiful red color even after cooking (i).”

We know kidney beans contain some of the most important nutrients. But there are certain other nutrients too that make them what they are. Scroll down to the next section to know more about kidney beans nutrition value.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Kidney Beans?

NutrientsPercentage of RDA
Calories 127
Total Fat (0.5 g)0%
Saturated fat (0.1g)0%
Polyunsaturated fat (0.3g)
Monounsaturated fat (0g)
Cholesterol (0 mg)0%
Sodium (1 mg)0%
Potassium (405 mg)11%
Total Carbohydrate (23g)7%
Dietary fiber (6g)24%
Sugar (0.3g)
Protein (9g)18%
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C2%
Calcium3%
Iron12%
Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B-65%
Vitamin B-120%
Magnesium10%
Amount Per 100 grams

That’s impressive, isn’t it? But this doesn’t mean the beans come with absolutely no side effects. There are certain things to keep in mind.

What Are The Side Effects Of Kidney Beans?

  • Hemagglutinin Poisoning

Kidney beans contain hemagglutinin, an antibody that can cause red blood cells to clump. Excess amounts of this compound can lead to diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. However, the danger lies in the raw beans only as the substance becomes inactive upon cooking.

  • Digestive Issues

The fiber in the beans can work both ways. Excess intake of the beans can lead to gas, diarrhea, and blocked intestines.

  • Cancer Risk

Excess folate has also been linked to cancer. Studies have shown individuals taking 800 mcg of folate (the RDA is 400 mcg) per day showed an elevated risk of cancer.

  • Organ Damage

Though the iron in the beans is beneficial, excess of it can lead to heart and brain damage.

Infographic: Interesting Facts And Types Of Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are rich sources of plant protein and add a delicious flavor to dishes. They resemble human kidneys and are packed with many essential nutrients. They have a firmer texture and retain their shape even after cooking. Click on the infographic below to learn more about kidney beans.

kidney beans (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

protip_icon Did You Know?
Decades ago, it was a tradition in New Orleans to eat red kidney beans and rice every Monday. Families used the leftover ham bone from Sunday feasts to enhance the flavor of the beans and finished laundry while the red kidney beans cooked away.

Kidney beans are one of the richest sources of plant protein. Rich in fiber and essential minerals, kidney beans help build muscle mass, strengthen the bones, and promote blood sugar control while boosting your digestive health as well. A good source of iron and folate, these nutritious beans are also beneficial for a healthy pregnancy. While there are several benefits of kidney beans and these are easy to incorporate in various cuisines, they should be had in moderation to avoid any possible side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are red beans the same as kidney beans?

Red beans are slightly smaller and rounder than kidney beans, but otherwise, they are fairly similar. In fact, red beans can be a very good substitute for kidney beans.

How to eat kidney beans?

You can add kidney beans to your vegetable salad or evening soup. You can also add the beans to rice preparations.

What are kidney beans called in other languages?

Kidney beans are called rajma in Hindi and frijoles in Spanish.

Are kidney beans anti-inflammatory?

Common beans are a vital source of phenolic compounds with anti-inflammatory properties and nondigestible fermentable components (9).

Are kidney beans good for the skin?

Yes. The nutrients and antioxidants in them can boost your skin health. Studies found that topical use of red kidney beans may keep the skin smoothe, moisturized, bright and help manage wrinkles (10).

Key Takeaways

  • Kidney beans may help manage weight as it is low-fat food.
  • It may improve bone, heart, and brain health, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Overconsumption of kidney beans may cause cancer, heart, and brain damage.
  • Kidney beans are rich in hemagglutinin which may cause diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain if not balanced properly.
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Discover the amazing benefits of kidney beans in this informative video. Click on it to learn why you should consume these nutrient-packed beans to improve your health and well-being.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. “What superstar foods are good for diabetes?” American Diabetes Association.
  2. “Non-soy legume consumption…” US National Library of Medicine.
  3. “Dietary flavonoids and…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  4. “AICR’s foods that fight cancer”. American Institute for Cancer Research.
  5. “Medicinal plants traditionally used…”. Wiley Online Library.
  6. “A proprietary alpha-amylase…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  7. “Gout diet: What’s allowed, what’s not”. Mayo Clinic.
  8. “6 must-eat foods for pregnancy”. WebMD.
  9. “White and dark kidney beans reduce colonic…” US National Library of Medicine
  10. “Formulation of Phaseolus vulgaris…” US National Library of Medicine
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Lauren Smith

Lauren SmithMS, RD, LDN

Lauren Smith is a registered dietitian based in Jacksonville, Florida with Dietitians of Palm Valley. She received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Florida State University and earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Boston University. Lauren has 11 years of experience and specializes in helping her clients understand why so many mainstream diet programs have consistently never...read full bio

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