True to their name, these popular kidney-shaped beans come in both dried and canned forms. Well known for being a key ingredient in chilli con carne, kidney beans are especially good in simmered dishes, absorbing the flavours of seasonings and the other foods with which they are cooked. One cup of cooked red kidney beans provides 277 calories, with very little fat content. Not only are these beans a quality carbohydrate choice, they provide your body with essential nutrients and are a great, inexpensive choice for vegetarians and vegans year-round. Keep reading for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Red Kidney Beans!
Red kidney beans are supercharged with antioxidants – the “disease-fighting compounds that Mother Nature puts in our foods to help our bodies stay healthy.” Powered by strong anti-aging properties and exceptionally rich in flavonoids, these beans are great in promoting your longevity.
Except for your morning bran flakes, there’s no food more fibre-rich than beans and pulses. Beans are especially high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre. Evidence from research studies shows that just ½ a cup of cooked beans a day for two months lowered cholesterol by 20 points!
3. Fat-free, high-quality protein
Pulses are a good source of protein, essential for building and replacing muscle. If you are vegetarian or vegan, kidney beans are a useful way to get protein into your diet. These hearty beans when combined with a whole grain, such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods – and without the high calories or saturated fat found in those foods! A cup of kidney beans provides over 15 grams of protein. Check out this kidney bean burger recipe for a tasty fast food alternative!
4. Controls blood sugar
Beans are known as a diabetes superfood. A very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre, kidney beans’ fibre content prevents your blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making them an especially healthy choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
5. Long-lasting fullness
Since kidney beans are full of fibre and fibre-rich foods are low in energy density, they take up lots of space in your stomach without providing the calories. Kidney beans also take a while for your body to digest, ideal if you want to feel fuller for longer if you’re trying to lose weight. According to a study, women who consumed more fibre were less likely to gain weight than those who consumed less.
Remember! Whilst many foods are perfectly fine to eat in their natural state, red kidney beans are not one of them. Though many raw beans contain the toxin Phytohaemagglutinin, (also called kidney bean lectin), kidney beans contain the highest toxin levels. Cooked kidney beans contain this toxin at much lower, harmless levels. If you choose dried kidney beans over the canned alternative, soaking and cooking the beans thoroughly destroys the toxin. If in doubt, just buy the already cooked, canned kidney beans and you’ll be safe and good to go eat them! For inspirational dishes that use kidney beans, check out these recipes. Got any other bean recipes? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!