Kidney beans are named after their distinctive shape, and they are available both dried and canned all year long. Their savory taste makes them a popular ingredient in salads and chili recipes, and it turns out that they are extremely good for your body as well. Read on to discover the nine most significant reasons why adding more kidney beans to your diet could boost your health and improve your quality of life.
1) Kidney Beans can help to detoxify your body:
One particularly interesting property of kidney beans is that they contain molybdenum. This trace mineral helps to detoxify sulfites, which are commonly found in food as preservatives. If you do not have enough molybdenum in your system, consuming sulfites can cause a raised heart rate, dizziness, and a severe headache. Eating kidney beans can help you to avoid this reaction to preservatives.
2) They lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular problems:
A study performed on middle-aged men in a wide range of countries found that the men who ate the most kidney beans (and other legumes) were an amazing 82% less likely to die from heart disease. It is thought that this health benefit comes from the fact that kidney beans are so rich in folate, magnesium, and fiber. A serving of kidney beans provides you with more than half of your recommended daily intake of folate, and folate lowers levels of an amino acid called homocysteine. This is important for heart health, as lower levels of homocysteine are connected to a much lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. Meanwhile, magnesium relaxes blood vessels and makes them less likely to become blocked or narrowed.
3) They promote mental acuity:
Kidney beans are a source of thiamin, with one serving providing you with close to 20% of your recommended daily intake. This may help to maintain your cognitive faculties as you age because studies show that thiamin is vital to the synthesis of a neurotransmitter that impacts on memory. This neurotransmitter is called acetylcholine, and research on Alzheimer’s disease has shown that it is often lacking in sufferers of the condition.
4) They can help to prevent cancer:
Firstly, one fascinating study on women’s health has revealed that consuming just a few servings of kidney beans each week can reduce your likelihood of developing breast cancer by as much as 24%. Secondly, the zinc in kidney beans has been shown to make men less likely to suffer from prostate cancer (as well as prostate enlargement more generally). Finally, the vitamin K in kidney beans may help to reduce your risk of suffering from all forms of cancer, as studies show that it can protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
5) They may prevent or help to treat anemia:
One serving of kidney beans contains close to 30% of your recommended daily intake of iron. This means that consuming them will help to prevent anemia from developing, as a lack of iron is one of the main causes of the condition (due to the fact that iron is a component of red blood cells). Your health depends on having plenty of iron because low levels stop your blood from effectively providing your vital organs with oxygen.
6) They help to maintain strong bones:
Since kidney beans contain manganese and calcium, they promote healthy bones and help to reduce your risk of suffering from fractures and developing osteoporosis. This makes them a particularly useful addition to your diet if you happen to be a postmenopausal woman, as you are in the group most likely to develop osteoporosis.
7) They can lower cholesterol levels:
A serving of kidney beans provides you with over 45% of your recommended daily intake of fiber, and a diet that is high in fiber has been proven to lower levels of LDL (i.e. ‘bad’) cholesterol. This is because soluble fiber binds with bile in the digestive tract, and the cholesterol that this bile contains is then removed from your body as waste.
8. They may improve your resistance to disease:
Kidney beans provide you with plenty of zinc, and there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that a diet that is high in zinc can improve your immune system. Specifically, zinc supports healthy white blood cell function, and if your white blood cells are functioning properly then they are more capable of effectively destroying bacterial and viral infections.
9) They promote healthy blood sugar levels:
The fact that kidney beans are rich in fiber means that eating them can help to stop blood sugar levels from spiking after a meal. As a result, they are an ideal choice if you suffer from diabetes or have abnormal insulin resistance (due to a condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome).
As is obvious from the above health benefits, kidney beans are an excellent addition to your diet if you want to increase your intake of important nutrients. To make sure that kidney beans are entirely safe for consumption, the Public Health Laboratory Services recommend that you soak the beans in water for several hours and then cook them in water for at least ten minutes.