Modest in appearance, kidney beans are not so humble as regards their nutritional status. A hefty blend of complex carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, minerals, vitamins, kidney beans are low in fat and may be added as a healthy ingredient to help cut some figures on the scale. Owing to these attributes, the benefits of kidney beans are extended to cater to cardiovascular, blood balancing acts and may aid in reducing cancer risk.
Kidney beans are an incredible source of soluble and non-soluble fiber; the soluble one leads the cholesterol out of the body while the insoluble one delivers a filling effect in the gut and adds bulk to stool thereby satisfying the appetite and relieving constipation. Therefore, we can assume that kidney beans can also check unwanted weight gain. What are the upshots of kidney beans regarding our overall health, read on.
1. Cardiovascular health benefits
Diabetes and heart disease are two conditions that can be modified with diet and incorporating kidney beans in salads, soups or other recipes can provide an alternative to many unhealthy options.
According to research studies, kidney beans can significantly lower the bad LDL levels without affecting the good HDL levels due to its high content of soluble fiber content. The fermentation of soluble fiber in the colon produces short-chain fatty acids as butyrate and propionate that in turn decreases the LDL synthesis from the liver. Kidney beans deliver an anti-inflammatory action in the body, thereby reducing organ damage in the body.
Both clinical and epidemiologic studies have shown that bean consumption reduces C-reactive protein concentrations.
2. Blood sugar balancing acts
Kidney beans are high in fiber and this excellent attribute is responsible for its low glycemic value i.e. kidney beans do not raise the blood sugar levels rapidly. Their glycemic index ranges from 29-38, a much lower value than another carbohydrate rich dietary items. Its antioxidant and polyphenol content also add to its sugar lowering effects. These effects work in reducing the risk of development of type II diabetes in the long run.
A Meta-analysis of 41 clinical studies established the direct role of kidney beans in lowering the insulin and fasting blood glucose levels. A consistent result is shown by many pieces of clinical trials in which the postprandial glucose levels are lowered by kidney beans in both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals.
Increasing the legume consumption by one cup per day decreased the HbA1Cc levels by 0.5 percent as compared to a 0.3 percent decrease achieved with wheat.
3. Reduces the risk of certain cancers
Colorectal cancer is emerging as the third most common cancer in women and second in men in the US. Beans and particularly kidney beans are a high source of flavonols, an ingredient that is inversely proportional to the recurrence rate of advanced adenomatous polyps.
A research published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules states, “white kidney bean lectin exerts anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects on cancer cells”.
4. Accelerates weight loss
White kidney bean extract is an ingredient much hyped for its role in weight loss. This is due to the presence of alpha-amylase inhibitors present in beans.
“A double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized study of these kidney beans extracts included 60 slightly overweight participants. The participants took one tablet of the active extracts or placebo per day for 30 consecutive days before a meal rich in carbohydrates. After 30 days, the active group had a significant reduction in adipose tissue, BMI, body weight and fat mass. In addition, waist, hip, and thigh circumference reduced while maintaining lean body mass. On average, the active group lost 6.45 pounds in 30 days as compared to an average of 0.35 pounds in the placebo group”
Some precautionary notes regarding kidney beans
To get the most of the nutritional benefit out of kidney beans, soak them overnight. This not only makes the beans easy to cook but also gets rid of phytohaemagglutinin, a toxic ingredient for the liver.
If you are trying to lose weight via some diets as ketogenic or Paleo, do not consume kidney beans as they contain phytates that inhibit the absorption of certain minerals and vitamins. The lectin content of kidney beans may give rise to leaky gut as a short-term side effect and malabsorption of vitamin and minerals and arthritic conditions in the long term, so moderation is the key to success.