Originating in South America, kidney beans first appeared in Europe in the 15th century, from where they spread to the rest of the world. Initially considered a simple food for the poor, beans are now a highly valued superfood, and an inexpensive source of healthy protein, fiber, and minerals. You can use them for salads, stews, soups, with scrambled eggs in the morning, in a tortilla for lunch, or as a side dish. Regardless of how they are prepared and served, they provide flavor, energy, and nutrition. By boosting your immune system, and preventing a host of life-threatening diseases, this versatile legume, both improves the quality of your life and prolongs it.
Protein represents the building block of our cells, tissues, and organs. There are different types and qualities of protein, depending on their amino acid composition. Protein is essential because it builds your muscle, helps you maintain a healthy weight by keeping you full for longer, and keeps your bones, skin, and blood in good condition. A complete source of protein that provides all of the essential amino acids is found in meat, fish, and dairy. Unfortunately, the protein found in kidney beans is incomplete, but, if combined with rice, it becomes a complete protein. This makes kidney beans/rice meals ideal for vegetarians and vegans, ensuring a nutritious, protein-rich, and cholesterol-free diet.
Kidney beans are low in fat and rich in folic acid (folate) and magnesium. Folate lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke by reducing the levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream. Magnesium, on the other hand, keeps your arteries clear and prevents clogging, so oxygen and nutrients can quickly be distributed throughout the body. As magnesium deficiency is directly associated with the risk of heart attack, if you have heart-related problems, make it a habit of eating kidney beans every day.
Although high cholesterol can run in the genes, it is more often than not result in being overweight and physically inactive. While healthy living habits can help reduce your cholesterol levels, the most important "medicine" is your diet. By consuming beans every day, you will easily lower your cholesterol and improve your overall health. This is partly because beans are cholesterol- and trans-fat-free food, and partly because they contain several compounds which can reduce cholesterol. Combined, soluble fiber, resistant starch, and phytosterols improve your health by reducing total cholesterol,"bad" cholesterol, as well as triglyceride levels in your blood. Studies show that as little as 1/2 cup of cooked beans a day, can after two months, lower your cholesterol level by 20 points.
It's well-known that memory loss can happen due to stress, as well as old age, but did you know that your diet can help improve your cognitive function and boost your memory? Studies show that many mental disorders are linked to poor nutrition, and one way of maintaining a healthy brain is by including "smart" foods in your diet. Kidney beans are considered a powerful brain food and should be on your menu every day. Rich in vitamin B, which is particularly important for healthy brain, beans not only boost your memory but help with the synthesis of acetylcholine, whose lack is linked to senility and Alzheimer's disease. Preventing dementia with a diet may not always be possible, but if all it takes to improve the health of your brain is to eat beans every day, it would be silly not to.
Everyone needs healthy bones. Particularly women who are approaching or have passed through menopause for this is when bones become brittle and porous. To maintain healthy bones, your diet should include foods rich in calcium, Vitamin D and trace minerals needed for good bone health. As kidney beans contain a lot of calcium, manganese, folic acid, and vitamin K, by eating them regularly you can strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and bone fracture. One of the ways of preventing bone loss is to reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
To fight cancer, you need food rich in antioxidants which will destroy free radicals before they start damaging your organs. Kidney beans, being particularly rich in anticancer properties, should be a part of every healthy diet. They are high in manganese which is a powerful anticancer agent. They contain vitamin K, which helps fight cancer by preventing oxidative stress. The component believed to play the main role in beans' ability to prevent cancer are the phytochemicals. Saponins, protease inhibitors, and phytic acid. Combined, they prevent the reproduction of cancer cells and slow down tumor growth.
The combination of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates in kidney beans helps stabilize blood sugar levels. This makes beans one of the healthiest food for those who have diabetes. A fiber-rich diet is crucial for people with diabetes. Mainly because it helps slow down the release of sugar in the body. And it boosts production of insulin needed to lower the sugar levels. If you struggle with insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, make sure to eat at least half a cup of kidney beans a day.
Hypertension is a big problem in the developed world. It's usually caused by calorie-rich food, obesity, alcohol, stress, and sedentary lifestyle. The reason hypertension is potentially extremely dangerous, is that it can lead to stroke, heart attack or kidney disease. Fortunately, there are foods which not only help you reduce your blood pressure but help you maintain it at the healthy level. The high content of fiber, potassium, and magnesium in kidney beans, makes them an excellent diet choice for everyone. Especially those struggling with high blood pressure. Those who regularly eat kidney beans are at a 50% lower risk of developing hypertension-related health problems. Another way beans help stabilize your blood pressure is by providing greater elasticity of the blood vessels.
According to nutritionists, the best foods to boost your energy levels with are those rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Energy provided by real food provides slow-burning, complex carbohydrates which help increase your energy. The iron and manganese, as well as amino acids in kidney beans, make them an ideal source of long-term energy.
Kidney beans are loaded with dietary fiber and healthy protein. Including them in your meals can help you lose weight without having to follow a strict diet. Just eating more fiber, e.g., 30 grams per day, is enough to help you lose weight. This is simply because fiber makes you feel full for longer. Besides, the protein in beans also contributes to your feeling full. As protein takes longer to break down, you burn more calories digesting it.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.