Discover the Nutritional and Wellness Perks of Kidney Beans

Focusing on nutrient-dense foods with various health benefits is essential for healthy eating. One such food is kidney beans. These legumes are a fantastic source of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients, making them a great addition to any diet. In this article, we'll explore how kidney beans can benefit your health.

The Nutritional Composition of Kidney Beans

A 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of boiled kidney beans contains the following:

  • Calories: 127
  • Protein: 8.7 g
  • Carbohydrate: 22.8 g
  • Fiber: 6.4 g
  • Sugar: 0.3 g
  • Fat: 0.5 g

In addition to the nutrients listed above, kidney beans have a good amount of molybdenum, iron, folate, copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamin K1.

Kidney beans are also rich in various bioactive plant compounds, including:

  • Isoflavones: These are a  group of antioxidants similar to the female sex hormone, estrogen.
  • Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants that give kidney beans their color.
  • Phytic acid: This is a compound that inhibits your absorption of minerals. You can reduce it by soaking or sprouting the beans before cooking.
  • Starch blockers: These are compounds that delay the absorption of carbs from your digestive tract. You can inactivate starch blockers by cooking the beans.

The Health Benefits of Kidney Beans

Incorporating kidney beans into your diet offers a range of health benefits, including:

Weight Loss

Weight gain and obesity are major health problems associated with several other chronic diseases. Observational studies show that eating beans can reduce your risk of weight gain and obesity. One study that examined 30 obese adults found that eating beans and other legumes promoted faster weight loss than a legume-free diet.

Beans' beneficial effects on weight loss may be attributed to various mechanisms, including fibers, proteins, and antinutrients. Raw kidney beans also contain antinutrients known as starch blockers. Starch blockers are proteins that delay or prevent the absorption and digestion of carbohydrates from your digestive tract, aiding weight loss. However, boiling your beans for 10 minutes inactivates these starch blockers.

Prevents Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is the most common type of cancer. Approximately 4.4% of men and 4.1% of women will be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their lifetime. Observational studies have linked the consumption of legumes, including beans, to a lower risk of colon cancer.

Animal and test tube studies show that beans contain various nutrients and fibers that may benefit the fight against cancer. Fibers such as resistant starch and alpha-galactosidase pass undigested into your colon, where they are fermented by friendly bacteria, resulting in the formation of SCFAs. Certain SCFAs improve colon health and help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Promote Blood Sugar Control

High blood sugar puts you at risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, regulating your blood sugar levels is essential for good health. Kidney beans are rich in protein, fiber, and slow-release carbs, which makes them effective at maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

Kidney beans also have a low GI score, meaning they do not trigger an increase in your blood sugar when you eat them. According to some studies, eating kidney beans and other low-glycemic foods can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Even if you don’t have diabetes, adding beans helps improve blood glucose balance and protects your overall health.

Great for Bodybuilding

Kidney beans can be an excellent addition to a bodybuilder's diet because of their high protein content, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Protein is necessary for muscle tissue growth and repair, whereas complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy for workouts and aid in glycogen replenishment after exercise.  

Furthermore, kidney beans contain various vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, folate, and magnesium, all necessary for muscle function and energy production.

How to Incorporate Kidney Beans Into Your Diet

There are several ways to incorporate kidney beans into your diet. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add them to salads: Kidney beans make a great addition to salads. Simply rinse and drain a can of kidney beans, then toss them into your salad.
  • Add them to soups and stews: Kidney beans are a great addition to soups and stews. Simply add them to your favorite recipe for added protein and fiber.
  • Use them as a meat substitute: Vegetarians and vegans can use kidney beans as substitutes for meat in recipes such as chili, tacos, and burritos.

Bottom Line

Kidney beans are high in nutrients and have numerous health benefits. By incorporating them into your diet, you can reap the benefits of their high protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. So, why not try kidney beans and see how they can help you achieve your health and fitness goals?