Kidney Beans 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
The word “kidney” comes from Latin meaning “to drink.”
So what are kidney beans?
They are a type of edible root vegetable that grows wild throughout Central America, South America, and Mexico. Kidney beans come in many varieties but they all have one thing in common – their seeds contain a mixture of protein-rich starches called amylopectin. These starches act like a glue for other foods when cooked. The beans themselves are very nutritious with high levels of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Kidney beans are often used in soups or stews because they hold up well to cooking. They also make excellent tacos or enchiladas. Kidney bean soup is popular in many parts of the world including India where it’s known as bhindi (pronounced “buh-nee”).
Kidney beans are also a good source of fiber and folate. Folate is important for proper cell growth and healthy bones. Fiber helps keep blood sugar levels steady while reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and constipation. Kidney beans are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which protect against cataracts.
Kidney Beans Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 Cup Cooked, Dried Beans (185 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 131.5 • Cholesterol 0 mg
Total Fat 0.1 g Total Carbohydrate 28.3 g Dietary Fiber 16.0 g Protein 12.3 g Minerals: Iron 2.2 mg Magnesium 8.0 mg Phosphorus 90.8 mg Potassium 294.6 mg Sodium 6.4 mg Zinc 0.5 mg
Vitamins:Folate 58.2 mcg Vitamin B6 0.4 mg Vitamin C 0.3 mg
Minerals: Calcium 15.4 mg Copper 0.1 mg
The same amount of dried beans yields about 6 cups of cooked beans.
Kidney beans can cause more serious allergic reactions than other types of beans. About three to five percent of people allergic to peanuts are also allergic to kidney beans. An allergy to kidney beans usually causes diarrhea, gastrointestinal discomfort and skin rashes. In some cases, ingestion of kidney beans can lead to breathing difficulties and even anaphylactic shock, which is potentially fatal.
Nevertheless, there is a treatment for the allergic reaction which includes an injection of epinephrine.
The Bottom Line
Kidney beans are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals and are especially beneficial to heart health. They are easy to prepare and add a substantial amount of fiber to your diet. Kidney beans may cause allergic reactions in some individuals but the symptoms can be alleviated with proper medical care.
Sources & references used in this article:
The potential health benefits of legumes as a good source of dietary fibre by TP Trinidad, AC Mallillin, AS Loyola… – … Journal of Nutrition, 2010 – cambridge.org
Nutritional evaluation of kidney beans (pxshaseolus vulgaris): Chemical composition, lectin content and nutritional value of selected cultivars by A Pusztai, EMW Clarke, TP King… – Journal of the Science …, 1979 – Wiley Online Library
Thermal heat processing effects on antinutrients, protein and starch digestibility of food legumes by Z Rehman, WH Shah – Food chemistry, 2005 – Elsevier
Fermentation enhances the content of bioactive compounds in kidney bean extracts by RI Limón, E Peñas, MI Torino, C Martínez-Villaluenga… – Food chemistry, 2015 – Elsevier
Hypoglycaemic and anorexigenic activities of an α-amylase inhibitor from white kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) in Wistar rats by MA Tormo, I Gil-Exojo, AR de Tejada… – … journal of nutrition, 2004 – cambridge.org
Hydration Kinetics of Red Kidney Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) by N ABU‐GHANNAM, B McKenna – journal of food science, 1997 – Wiley Online Library
Heat-Labile Growth-Inhibiting Factors in Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) by WG Jaffé, CL Vega Lette – The Journal of nutrition, 1968 – academic.oup.com
Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review by AK Jukanti, PM Gaur, CLL Gowda… – … Journal of Nutrition, 2012 – cambridge.org