History of Kidney Beans
Kidney beans or red beans, scientifically referred to as Phaseolus vulgaris, are maroon in color and resemble the shape of the human kidney, hence its name. This crop has been on Earth since the beginning of time. As humans progressed from a ‘primitive’ existence and began plowing the earth, beans were among the first crops to grow. Beans played an essential part in human history – they were among humans’ first foods, through which long-term living situations were made possible.
Page Contents - Quick Links
- History of Kidney Beans
- Nutrition Facts of Kidney Beans
- 30 Health Benefits of Kidney Beans
- Promotes Heart Health
- Balances Blood Sugar Levels
- Improves Daily Protein Intake
- Aids Digestion
- Lowers Risk of Heart Attacks
- Provides Long-Lasting Energy
- Provides Iron for Energy
- Improve Memory and Brain Functions
- Improves Antioxidant Defense
- Helps Weight Loss
- Stabilizes Blood Pressure and Prevents Hypertension
- Improves Immune System
- Purifies the Digestive Tract
- Treats Headaches
- Strengthens Bones
- Cures Cataracts
- Helps Relieve Joint Aches
- Repairs Damages Tissue
- Promotes Respiratory Health
- Contains Anti-Aging Properties
- Prevents Cancer
- Promotes Healthy Skin
- Helps PMS
- Maintains Nail Health
- Reduces Stress and Fatigue
- Reduces Bad Cholesterol
- Supports Maturation of Red Blood Cells
- Lowers Risk of Developing Diabetes
- Keeps Hair Healthy
- Possible Side Effects of Kidney Beans if Over-Consumed
- What are the best ways to eat Kidney Beans (a few quick serving ideas):
- Kidney Beans Recipe
In modern civilization, they first made their appearance in Peru. Indian merchants there, when traveling throughout South and Central America, carried kidney beans with them on their travels, and eventually beans became popular among people in that region. Similarly, the Europeans were introduced to beans back in the fifteenth century by Spanish travelers who were returning to Europe from their travels to the New World. Beans are not only cheap, they are also an excellent source of protein, and this has made it popular in many parts of the world. Its protein content even had sailors carrying it with them, and eventually Spanish and Portuguese ships carried the kidney bean to the Asian and African continents. Many countries today produce beans commercially, the largest being India, China, USA, Indonesia, and Brazil.
The Native Americans tribes, in particular, relied heavily on kidney beans for nutrition. Maize was a staple in the Native American kitchen as they were mostly vegetarian, and since the kidney beans’ amino profile composition suited that of maize to form a complete protein, many tribes incorporated kidney beans into their other maize-based foods. While it is true that the kidney bean’s name comes from its shape, but the Native Americans also used the kidney bean as a remedy for treating various kidney and bladder problems.
In addition, kidney beans were used as an integral part of ointments used to treat various skin infections such as eczema, sciatica, and rheumatism. In India, kidney beans (or ‘Rajma’, as they call it in Hindi), is a popular ingredient in many dishes. In America, kidney beans are very popular in New Orleans and Louisiana cuisines.
Nutrition Facts of Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are an excellent source, and among the richest, of plant-based protein. A single cup of cooked kidney beans has around 15g of protein. The proteins in carbs make up around 27% of its total caloric value.
The slow-releasing carbohydrates in kidney beans are called starch, and account for around 72% of its total caloric value, making it the main nutritional constituent of the kidney bean.
Kidney beans are very rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber.
Various vitamins and minerals are found in kidney beans; the most important ones are listed below:
|Vitamins / Minerals||Amount||Percentage of Daily Value (%)|
|Vitamin C||1.2 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||8.4 ug||7%|
Promotes Heart Health
The fiber content in kidney beans, like most other beans, help lower cholesterol and maintain cardiovascular health.
Balances Blood Sugar Levels
Kidney beans are very rich in fiber, which help deter the body’s blood sugar levels from increasing too much after a meal. Therefore, kidney beans are an excellent choice for individuals suffering from diabetes, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance.
Improves Daily Protein Intake
Kidney beans contain high quality, fat-free protein, and are an excellent source of nutrition especially when paired together with other whole grain foods such as rice. It is the perfect choice if you are looking to replace red meats in your diet.
Kidney beans are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are extremely useful for digestion. Soluble fiber intertwines with the cholesterol-containing bile and forces it out of the body. On the other hand, insoluble fiber prevents constipation, as well as help keep digestion issues such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), at bay.
Lowers Risk of Heart Attacks
Research shows that eating beans on a regular basis significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack by an incredible 82%. Apparently, eating foods with high fiber, folate and magnesium content such as kidney beans plays an important role in lowering your risk of heart attacks and maintaining heart health.
Provides Long-Lasting Energy
In addition to protein, kidney beans also provide the body with steady, slow-burning complex carbohydrates. This keeps the body more energetic and productive for longer periods in the day.
Provides Iron for Energy
Kidney beans increase the body’s iron reserves and give the body much-needed energy in addition to the energy-supplying carbohydrates. Pregnant and lactating women need higher amounts of iron and would especially benefit from adding kidney beans to their diets.
Improve Memory and Brain Functions
Kidney beans contain Thiamin (Vitamin B1), which are an essential element in brain cell functions. Deficiency in Thiamin can eventually cause age-related mental issues, such as senility, as well as brain-targeted diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Improves Antioxidant Defense
Among the trace minerals in kidney beans, manganese is one of the most important because of its contribution to antioxidant defenses. It is an essential element required in certain enzymes which are responsible for deactivating harmful free radicals in our cells.
Helps Weight Loss
Kidney beans are fat-free and rich in protein, which makes it an excellent choice for both bodybuilders as well as people trying to lose weight. It provides energy and makes for a wholesome meal without all the extra calories. Incorporate it into your weight loss strategy and notice amazing results.
Most food products out there contain preservatives, which comprise of sulphites that can prove toxic to the body in large amounts. Kidney beans contain traces of the mineral molybdenum, which aids in detoxifying the body of sulphites and other harmful chemicals.
Stabilizes Blood Pressure and Prevents Hypertension
The potassium and magnesium content in kidney beans help the arteries and blood vessels expand in order for blood to flow smoothly throughout the body, therefore stabilizing blood pressure.
Improves Immune System
Kidney beans contribute to building a strong immune system due to its supply of antioxidants which help the body rid itself of harmful bacteria and free radicals.
Purifies the Digestive Tract
When taken in the right amount, these beans can help cleanse the intestines by removing toxins. It also decreases chances of developing colon cancer.
Headaches can be treated with kidney beans – the magnesium in this food contributes to preventing migraines.
Kidney beans contain manganese and calcium which are important for bone strength and the prevention of developing osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Kidney beans are also rich in folate, which contributes to bone and joint health.
Vitamin B3, zinc as well as the niacin mineral in kidney beans helps decrease the appearance of cataracts, and can sometimes even cure them.
Helps Relieve Joint Aches
Inflammation due to arthritis can be treated with kidney beans due to its high copper value, which also makes sure ligaments and joints maintain flexibility.
Repairs Damages Tissue
Hair and skin damage can be greatly reduced with consumption of kidney beans. It contains Vitamin B6 which regenerates skin and hair tissues and helps stop hair fall. It can also inhibit any degeneration in the eyes.
Promotes Respiratory Health
Magnesium targets the respiratory tract and promotes a smooth flow of air through and out of the lungs. In fact, scientists have found that deficiency in magnesium levels can cause asthma and other respiratory problems.
Contains Anti-Aging Properties
Kidney beans promote anti-aging in skin and body tissues by restricting damage-causing free radicals. Therefore, many health problems can be avoided in the long term that can be caused by eating junk food and other environmental factors.
Manganese acts as an antioxidant guard against free radicals in cells, whereas Vitamin K limits oxidative attacks and regeneration. Together, they guard the cells from oxidative injuries and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Kidney beans improve the body’s overall metabolism, which is an essential part in maintaining healthy skin. Zinc is very important for this; it ensures the sweat glands are functioning correctly, and helps reduce acne formation. In addition, flavonoids prevent wrinkles and help keep skin looking fresh and youthful.
Before your period hits, increase your kidney bean intake. It contains calcium which can help limit PMS symptoms.
Maintains Nail Health
Kidney beans include biotins, which are responsible for nail growth and overall health. When biotin levels in the body are deficit, it can cause nails to become discolored, slows down their growth and causes dryness.
Reduces Stress and Fatigue
Magnesium is known to relax the muscles, nerves, and provide relief from fatigue and tiredness. It also reduces muscle soreness and headaches.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Through kidney beans, it is possible to reduce and prevent bad cholesterol in the body. Its fiber content forms fatty acids that can hinder the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Supports Maturation of Red Blood Cells
Kidney beans can help aid synthesis of DNA and RNA, as well as reduce homocysteine levels in our arteries through its Vitamin B6 and folate content. In this way, it reduces risks of heart diseases.
Lowers Risk of Developing Diabetes
Kidney beans are a type of carbohydrate that has a low glycemic index, which can be useful in reducing the chance of developing diabetes.
Like nails, hair needs biotin to remain healthy and strong. Iron and protein are also important for hair growth and strength, all of which kidney beans contain.
Possible Side Effects of Kidney Beans if Over-Consumed
Kidney beans have a high fiber content, and if consumed in a larger-than-normal proportion, may lead to digestive and bowel issues due to increased fermentation of carbohydrates, including wind and gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain and intestinal blockage.
How to avoid this side effect? For maintaining good health, around 25-38g of total fiber daily is adequate. There is around 13g of fiber in a single cup of kidney beans.
The folate in kidney beans help reduce the risk of cancer; however, too much folate can have adverse effects on people with heart problems.
How to avoid this side effect? You only need 400mcg of folate a day. A single cup of kidney beans contains around 230 mcg of this vitamin.
Excessive iron in your diet can prove damaging to health; it can stimulate heart and brain damage, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
How to avoid this side effect? Your daily need of iron is around 8-18mg daily. In a cup of kidney beans, there is around 5.2mg of iron.
Kidney beans contain hemagglutinin, an antibody that lead to bunching of red blood cells. If consumed in large quantities, this antibody may cause bowel issues such as vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
How to avoid this side effect? Hemagglutinin is only active in RAW beans, so ensure that beans are properly cooked before consuming.
What are the best ways to eat Kidney Beans (a few quick serving ideas):
- As a variation to the tamale pie, you can spread some cooked kidney beans on top of a cornbread, and top it with some cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
- Enjoy a nutritious, colorful bean salad by combining red kidney beans together with white beans and black beans.
- Another salad idea: mix kidney beans with chopped tomatoes and scallions – drizzle with olive oil, salt, black pepper and some lemon juice.
- Kidney beans paste can replace ground meat as a vegetarian option for tacos and other wraps.
- Kidney beans can be used as a base for spreads. It can be processed with garlic, cumin, peppers and other spices to be used as sandwich spreads and dips.
- Kidney beans are also used in Chili, the delicious, rich Mexican soup.
Mexican Chili Soup
- 2lb or 900g ground beef
- 1 can tomato juice
- 1 can tomato puree
- 1 can kidney beans, drained from liquid and rinsed
- 1 can pinto beans, drained from liquid and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
- ¼ cup white or red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup green capsicum, chopped
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp cumin powder
- Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked and evenly brown. Break up the clumps with a wooden spoon if required.
- In a large pot, add the cooked ground beef, and combine all the other ingredients with it as listed above. Let it cook over high heat, and reduce to low once it comes to a boil. Let it simmer for roughly 1.5 hours, and check often to stir. If you are using this recipe on a slow cooker, set the heat to low, add in all the ingredients and cook for around 8-10 hours.
- 1 can black beans, drained from liquid and rinsed
- 1 can white beans, drained from liquid and rinsed
- 1 can kidney beans, drained from liquid
- 1 whole green capsicum, chopped
- 1 whole red capsicum, chopped
- 1 can sweet corn, drained
- 1 whole red onion, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup coriander, chopped
- ½ tbsp cumin
- ½ tbsp black pepper powder
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- A dash of Tabasco
- In a large salad bowl, blend the beans, capsicum, corn and onion.
- In a separate bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients, including the Tabasco and cayenne powder.
- Add the salad dressing over the contents of the large bowl and mix well.
- Serve cold.
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