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 health benefits of kidney beans. Scroll down to know!
In This Article
How Are Kidney Beans Good For You?
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.
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
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.
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 flavonols 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 lignans and saponins in kidney beans have the ability to fight cancer (4).
4. Can Aid Weight Loss
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 are also a food source of protein, which is more filling than carbs and may aid weight loss too.
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
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
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 leucine 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.
That’s about the crucial benefits of kidney beans. And we already saw they contain some of the most important nutrients. But there are certain other nutrients too that make them what they are.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Kidney Beans?
|Nutrients||Percentage of RDA|
|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%|
|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 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 regulate your blood sugar levels 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.
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- “Non-soy legume consumption…” US National Library of Medicine.
- “Dietary flavonoids and…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “AICR’s foods that fight cancer”. American Institute for Cancer Research.
- “Medicinal plants traditionally used…”. Wiley Online Library.
- “A proprietary alpha-amylase…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Gout diet: What’s allowed, what’s not”. Mayo Clinic.
- “6 must-eat foods for pregnancy”. WebMD.