Kidney Beans

Phaseolus vulgaris

Herbs gallery - Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are named such owing to their color and shape that has resemblance to our kidneys. Also known as red beans, kidney beans are consumed extensively and enjoyed by people across the globe. Similar to adzuki beans or cannellini beans, kidney beans are commonly added to soups and stews. They can also be prepared from dried or canned beans and also incorporated in a variety of delectable meals.

They have rich content of protein, vitamins, complex carbohydrates and minerals. It is believed that consuming red beans offers us a number of health benefits, which include less chances of developing cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases. All these make kidney beans a wonderful addition to a wholesome diet.

Health benefits

Kidney beans contain a number of nutrients which offer us several health benefits. While the vitamin C content of red/ kidney beans is much less than that of vegetables and fruits, every cup of kidney beans contain over 10 percent of our daily recommended amount of this vitamin. As a result consuming kidney beans can help to promote white blood cell production and also kindle our immune system. In fact, the white blood cells are the first line of defence of our body against foreign pathogens. At the same time, vitamin C is also crucial for production of collagen and, in this way, it helps in the repair process all over the body.

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Kidney beans are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which are potent compounds that aid in combating the harmful free radicals in our body and protect us against various diseases as well as cell damage. Kidney beans contain high amounts of anthocyanins like pelargonidin, which contribute to the typical deep red color of red beans.

Aside from alleviating inflammation and promoting better health, foods that are high in antioxidant content, such as red beans, may also help in preventing development of chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.

Kidney beans or red beans are also beneficial for the health of our nervous systems. They contain vitamins like folate, which have a vital role in regulating particular amino group acids that are essential for our nervous system.

These seeds also contain elevated levels of beta-carotene, which helps to break down vitamin A. In addition, kidney beans are also said to be beneficial for improving our eyesight. It is worth mentioning here that vitamin A especially neutralizes oxidative stress in the retina, thereby aiding in preventing cataract development and occurrence of macular degeneration.

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B-complex vitamins and folate present in kidney beans are both crucial for synthesis of new cells in our body. Findings of some recent studies show that kidney beans also contain the trace mineral selenium. Selenium possesses antioxidant properties and can thwart cancer cell formation in the body.

Kidney beans are also rich in potassium and one cup of these beans contains about 20 percent of our daily recommended amount of this essential mineral. Potassium is a vital vasodilator, which has the ability to boost the health of our heart. Potassium works to reduce the amount of stress on our cardiovascular system and, at the same time, it unwinds the blood vessels, especially the arteries. In this way, potassium helps in lowering the chances of developing stroke, heart attack and coronary heart disease.

In addition to the above mentioned nutrients and minerals, kidney beans also contain a significant amount of iron. One cup of kidney beans supplies us with over 20 percent of our daily recommended amount of this essential mineral. Iron is a vital element and is essential for red blood cell production. Taking a diet high in kidney bean content will help to promote blood circulation and also boost the cardiovascular health. At the same time, it will enhance the energy levels and supply the much-needed oxygen to the extremities as well as the body parts that need oxygen most.

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Kidney beans contain a variety of minerals, which include copper, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. All these minerals have a vital role in augmenting the bone mineral density. When you intake more essential minerals, it will help to reduce the chances of various health conditions, including osteoporosis. In this way, these essential minerals keep us strong and active while we grow older.

Among the other essential minerals, people often overlook the health benefits offered by manganese. In fact, this essential mineral plays many vital roles in our body, which includes production of various enzymes that are associated with production of energy and mitochondrial function. Kidney beans contains sufficient amount of manganese and this means when you incorporated these beans in your regular diet, you get plenty of energy for the body to undertake its functions properly.

Researchers have studied thiamine (vitamin B1) extensively because it is useful in preventing various neurodegenerative diseases, including memory loss. It has been found that kidney beans enclose elevated levels of thiamine, which makes it very useful for people as they grow older, especially if they are vulnerable to cognitive decline. Kidney beans (which are loaded with thiamine) are also beneficial for people who are suffering from high levels of oxidative stress.

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Among the various benefits of eating kidney beans, the most well-known is that it has a positive effect on the digestive process. Kidney beans are rich in dietary fiber content and, as a result, consuming them helps to promote gastric juice production. At the same time, they encourage peristaltic motion, thereby keeping the movement of bowels normal. Consuming these beans, which are loaded with dietary fiber, regularly can also help in avoiding symptoms related to bloating and constipation. In addition, they also reduce the chances of developing ulcers and hemorrhoids.

Since kidney beans contain elevated levels of dietary fiber, they are excellent food for people who are seeking to control their diabetes or reduce the risks of developing this condition. Consuming foods that are rich in dietary fiber regularly helps to control the amount of blood sugar as well as insulin in our body, thereby helping to diminish the threats of spikes as well as drops in glucose levels. At the same time, dietary fiber helps us to maintain a healthy body weight.

Dietary fiber also possesses the ability to reduce the levels of low density lipo-protein (LDL) cholesterol or "bad cholesterol", thereby lowering the chances of developing coronary heart diseases. Therefore, consuming kidney beans is beneficial in more ways than one. They not only maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol, but also help in reducing the risks of suffering a heart attack and developing atherosclerosis.

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One cup of red beans or kidney beans supplies us with over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of folate. The most important benefit of folic acid is that it has the ability to lower the chances of neural tube imperfections in infants. Kidney beans contain enough folic acid and, hence, these beans are a vital nutrient for pregnant women.

It is worth mentioning here that kidney beans are amongst the best sources for plant-based proteins which you should incorporate into your regular diet. For instance, one cup of kidney beans provides our body with almost 15 grams of protein. Inside our body lean protein is metabolized into vital amino acids, which are utilized for production of energy and muscle tissue growth. Therefore, it you are interested to bulk up and, at the same time, burn fat, it is suggested that you regularly consume foods filled with kidney beans.

Side effects and cautions

Though kidney beans or red beans offer us numerous health benefits, people consuming them ought to be cautious as it may lead to a number of side effects. First of all, kidney beans needs to be cooked well before eating because they enclose a type of toxic called phytohaemagglutinin, which can damage our liver. Some people may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness and severe stomach pain within few hours of consuming raw kidney beans. In extreme cases, people may even need to be hospitalized.

This is why it is best to soak the kidney beans in water and subsequently discard the water before cooking the red beans. It is advisable that you should never cook dried kidney beans in a slow cooker, as this allows the toxin (phytohaemagglutinin) to remain in the beans as well as the water in which they are soaked.

In fact, a number of diets such as ketogenic diet or Paleo diet discourage people from consuming beans as they contain relatively higher amounts of carbohydrates and fructans. In addition, these beans also contain phytic acid (also known as phytates). These substances are believed to be "anti-nutrients" as they obstruct the body from absorbing vital vitamins and essential minerals.

It is worth mentioning here that kidney bean plants also enclose lectins, which is a type of protein that is believed to be responsible for leaky gut. In turn, this may be responsible for other health conditions such as arthritis and in the long run result in poor absorption of vitamins and minerals.

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