Few foods can claim to be as simultaneously healthful and satiating as the kidney bean. The big, cabernet-colored bean named after the anatomical organ they resemble, are an excellent source of protein, serving up almost 8g of protein per half-cup! Like most legumes, kidney beans are also sources of vitamins and minerals like iron and folate which are essential for supporting cell cycles and red blood cell production in the body. However, beans and legumes, including kidney beans, are best known for their high dietary fiber content, which supports healthy digestion, stabilizes blood sugar, and supports a healthy gut microbiome.
Beans also contain many phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds that provide an extra layer of protection in both plants and, in some cases, in humans as well. Beans contain many phytonutrients that have been shown to be anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, cancer is considered a chronic disease.
Consuming a variety of legumes, including kidney beans, is an important component of a healthy, plant-based diet that supports both cancer prevention and during survivorship. Consuming a minimum of ½ cup cooked beans per day helps to boost your daily fiber intake and provides an excellent source of protein and nutrients. Our recommendation is to consume a variety of beans and legumes 4 to 6 days per week, aiming for ½ to 2 cups beans per day. If you currently don’t consume many beans and legumes add beans in slowly and in small amounts as they can stimulate the digestive tract and may cause loose and frequent stools.
Exploring the world of beans and legumes can help reduce your reliance on animal-based protein sources and help you make the shift to a more plant-focused diet.
Kidney beans are inexpensive and easy to prepare. When cooked, they have a light, mild flavor and absorb seasoning and taste from other ingredients easily. You can purchase either dried or canned varieties. When buying dried beans, look for beans that are whole and not broken. Prior to cooking dried beans, simply soak them for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge to help speed up the cooking process. Always rinse canned beans under water to remove excess sodium.
Kidney beans can be served hot or cold, in salads, stews, curries, chilies, and soups such as our White Winter Minestrone Soup. Kidney beans can also be paired as a side with healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice and quinoa, or seasoned with olive oil, herbs, and spices to serve as the base or side for cooked vegetable or fish recipes.