Kidney Beans: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Proteins in Kidney Beans

– Kidney beans are rich in protein.
– One cup of boiled kidney beans (177 g) contains approximately 15 grams of protein, accounting for 27% of the total caloric content.
– Although the nutritional quality of bean proteins is lower than animal proteins, beans are an affordable alternative for many people in developing countries.
– In fact, beans are one the richest plant-based sources of protein, sometimes referred to as “poor man’s meat”.
– The most widely studied protein in kidney beans is phaseolin, which may cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.
– Kidney beans also contain proteins, such as lectins and protease inhibitors.


– Kidney beans are mainly composed of carbs.
– Carbs in kidney beans are known as starch, which accounts for approximately 72% of the total calorie content.
– Starch is predominantly made up of long chains of glucose, called amylose and amylopectin.
– Beans have a relatively high proportion of amylose (30-40%) compared to most other dietary sources of starch.
– Amylose is not as digestible as amylopectin.
– For this reason, bean starch is a so-called slow-release carbohydrate. Its digestion takes longer and it causes lower and more gradual rise in blood sugar than other types of starch, making kidney beans particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.
– Kidney beans rank very low on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how foods affect the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
– In fact, bean starch has a more beneficial effect on blood sugar balance than many other high-carb foods.


– Kidney beans are high in fiber.
– They contain substantial amounts of resistant starch, which may play a role in weight management.
– Kidney beans also contain insoluble fibers known as alpha-galactosides, which may cause diarrhea and flatulence in some people.
– Both resistant starch and alpha-galactosides function as prebiotics. They move through the digestive tract until they reach the colon where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria, stimulating their growth.
– The fermentation of these healthy fibers also results in the formation of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which may improve colon health and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Vitamins and Minerals

Kidney beans are rich in various vitamins and minerals.

Molybdenum: Beans are high in molybdenum, a trace element mainly found in seeds, grains, and legumes.
Folate: Also known as folic acid or vitamin B9, folate is considered particularly important during pregnancy.
Iron: An essential mineral that has many important functions in the body. Iron may be poorly absorbed from beans due to their phytate content.
Copper: An antioxidant trace element that is often low in the Western diet. Aside from beans, the best dietary sources of copper are organ meats, seafood, and nuts.
Manganese: Found in most foods and drinks, especially in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
Potassium: An essential nutrient that may have beneficial effects on heart health.
Vitamin K1: Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is important for blood coagulation.
Phosphorus: Found in almost all foods, phosphorus is high in the Western diet.

Other Health Benefits of Kidney Beans

Aside from being weight loss friendly, kidney beans may have a number of health benefits when properly cooked and prepared.

Improved Blood Sugar Control

– Over time, high blood sugar may increase the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease.
– For this reason, moderating the rise in blood sugar after meals is considered beneficial for health.
– Being rich in protein, fiber, and so-called slow-release carbs, kidney beans are particularly effective at maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar when included with meals.
– They rank very low on the glycemic index, which means that the rise in blood sugar after eating them is low and more gradual.
– In fact, beans are better at controlling blood sugar than most dietary sources of carbs.
– Several observational studies indicate that eating beans, or other foods that are low on the glycemic index, may cut the risk of becoming diabetic.
– Eating low-glycemic foods may also improve blood sugar control in people who are already diabetic.
– Diabetic or not, adding beans to your diet may improve blood sugar balance, protect your overall health, and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.