Beans, Beans, they’re good for the……Heart Protection?
I am going to combine little red beans and kidney beans into one post.
The kidney bean is easy to recognize due to its shape…like a kidney. It is common in Indian cooking and Creole cuisine. You are probably most familiar with it as part of the dish red beans and rice.
Kidney beans are high in dietary fiber with one cup of cooked kidney beans providing 45.3% of the recommended daily intake. From the Mayo Clinic, here is why you should eat lots of fiber!
- Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. For some, fiber may provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
- Helps maintain bowel integrity and health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Epidemiologic studies have shown that increased fiber in the diet can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which is also protective to heart health.
- Helps control blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels. A diet that includes insoluble fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Uncertain effect on colorectal cancer. Evidence that dietary fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed — some studies show benefit, some show nothing and some suggest increased risk. If you’re concerned about preventing colorectal cancer, adopt or stick with a colon cancer screening regimen. Regular testing for and removal of colon polyps can prevent colon cancer.
However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing (fiber) and it should be added slowly to the diet.
Health Benefits other than Fiber
Kidney beans contain high amounts of folate and mangensium, two nutrients which may be beneficial to heart health. The high amount of soluble fiber in beans, such as kidney beans, can help stabilize blood sugars. This may be extremely beneficial to diabetics or individuals who suffer from fluctuation in blood sugar. The high level of iron in kidney beans is great for individuals, women especially, who may be iron-deficient. Manganese is a trace element found in kidney beans. It is considered a trace element because our bodies only need small doses of it. However, it is an antioxidant even in these small doses. Kidney beans, like other beans, has lots of protein to help keep you full and provide energy.
How do I cook them?
Dry kidney beans contain a toxin that my be destroyed by boiling for ten minutes. Other than that, be creative! Below are some delicious, and healthy, looking recipes to get you going!
What is your favorite way to eat kidney beans? Have you tried any of the above recipes?