8 things you need to know about the health benefits of kidney beans (recipe included)
12/30/2020 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
8 things you need to know about the health benefits of kidney beans (recipe included)

Kidney beans, aptly named because of their kidney-like shape, may be a bit infamous for their gassy impact on your gut. But don’t let that stop you from getting your hands on these amazing legumes.

For starters, kidney beans have a firmer, meatier feel to them than other beans thanks to their incredible plant protein content. In fact, kidney beans are so well-known for their high protein content that they are also called “poor man’s meat” at times.

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In addition, kidney beans are nutritional superstars that are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals that promote good overall health and well-being.

The many health benefits of kidney beans

Inexpensive, versatile and incredibly nutritious, kidney beans make for a great addition to a healthy diet. Take a look at some of the most touted health benefits of kidney beans:

  1. Provides many important nutrients – Kidney beans offer a healthy dose of fiber and complex carbs. But they are also rich in various vitamins and minerals, such as iron, copper, potassium and vitamin K.
  2. Supports healthy heart function – Kidney beans may help improve your blood circulation thanks to their high potassium content. Potassium relaxes your blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to heart disease, stroke and heart attack.
  3. Fights oxidative stress – Kidney beans contain several active plant compounds, such as anthocyanins and isoflavones. As antioxidants, they protect your cells from the damaging effects of oxidative stress.
  4. Helps prevent obesity – If you want to lose weight healthily, eat more kidney beans. Rich in fiber and protein but low in calories, kidney beans are weight loss-friendly foods. Fiber works by helping to reduce your hunger, while protein boosts your metabolism and increases the number of calories you burn.
  5. Improves digestion – Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The first slows digestion, which is why you may still feel full hours after a meal. The second keeps food moving along your digestive tract so that you don’t feel constipated. Just drink water after eating beans because fiber absorbs water.
  6. Controls blood sugar – Starchy foods are notorious for raising blood sugar levels, which is why many nutritionists advise diabetics to avoid them. But because the starch in kidney beans take longer to digest, you don’t run the risk of your blood sugar levels spiking after eating your fill of kidney beans.
  7. May prevent colon cancer – Beneficial bacteria in your colon ferment fiber from the foods you eat to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are the main source of energy for the cells that line your colon. Some studies suggest that SCFAs may help reduce your risk of colon cancer, too.
  8. Promotes healthy pregnancy – Kidney beans are a must-eat food during pregnancy. This is because kidney beans are naturally rich in folate, a B vitamin known to lower the risk of birth defects.

Vegan red kidney bean soup recipe

This hearty red kidney bean soup makes for a light but filling breakfast. But you can also serve it as a side to go with a bowl of quinoa or perhaps even a meat dish for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons barley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. To a large saucepan, add the kidney beans and the rest of the vegetables. Hold the tomatoes.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10–12 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and salt. Continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft. Serve immediately.

Kidney beans are filled with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support your overall health. To reap their many nutritional benefits, eat more kidney beans as part of a balanced diet. You can try using beans instead of meat for your mains or incorporate them into your go-to soup recipes for extra protein.

Sources:

Healthline.com

TasteOfHome.com

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