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What Are the Benefits of Red Kidney Beans?

by Caroline Thompson

About Caroline Thompson

Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.

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Overview

The red kidney bean is a versatile legume used in everything from salads, chilies and soups to the classic red beans and rice. Kidney beans are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, which may help prevent certain chronic diseases and also help relieve gastrointestinal symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Nutritional Content

Red kidney beans have phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron and phytonutrients, all of which may help prevent certain types of diseases. Phytonutrients, such as beta-carotene, are naturally occurring chemical compounds that play an important role in human health. Red kidney beans also contain vitamins B, B6 and C, riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid and choline, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database. Red kidney beans are also a good source of protein and are low in calories. One cup of cooked red kidney beans has approximately 225 calories and 11 grams of fiber.

Disease Prevention

According to MayoClinic.com, consuming red kidney beans may help prevent the occurrence of chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. A 2010 study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in the Philippines found that regular kidney bean consumption significantly reduced a person's low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol. The study also concluded that kidney beans have potential hypocholesterolaemic effects. Hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Foods with hypocholesteolemic effects can significantly reduce the risk for developing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by controlling cholesterol levels, explains the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Rhode Island.

Digestive Tract Aid

Irritable bowel syndrome is a group of symptoms related to abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort in the digestive tract. It is a disorder that causes the bowels to work improperly. The high fiber in red kidney beans can reduce constipation associated with IBS, notes the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.