Week # 36: 15 lbs Kidney Beans
Kidney beans come in various colors (mainly red) but are kidney-shaped beans. Their firm, creamy, white flesh and full-bodied flavor make these beans a popular choice for chili, soups, and salads because they absorb the flavors of seasonings and the other foods with which they are cooked with. Both dried and canned kidney beans are available throughout the year. Dried beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as in bulk bins.
Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. But this is far from all kidney beans have to offer. Kidney beans are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Just one cup of cooked kidney beans supplies 177.0% of the daily value for molybdenum. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.
A cup of cooked kidney beans provides 45.3% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that binds with bile (which contains cholesterol)and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
Lower Your Heart Attack Risk
In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years. Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that higher legume consumption was associated with a whopping 82% reduction in risk!
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as kidney beans, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years.
Kidney beans’ contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate and magnesium these beans supply. Folate helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle.
Kidney beans’ good supply of magnesium puts yet another plus in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects. Magnesium is Nature’s own calcium channel blocker. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart. Want to literally keep your heart happy? Eat kidney beans–a one cup serving provides 19.9% of your daily needs for magnesium.
There are 218 calories in 1 cup of Red Kidney Beans (Canned).
Calorie break-down: 3% fat, 75% carbs, 22% protein.
Choosing dry beans:
Choose dried beans that look plump, unwrinkled and evenly colored. Pick over dried beans before using to remove any small pebbles. Whether purchasing kidney beans in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that the beans are whole and not cracked.
Choosing canned beans:
Canned kidney beans can be found in most markets. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned kidney beans and those you cook yourself. If enjoying canned beans is more convenient for you, by all means go ahead and enjoy them. We would suggest looking for those that do not contain extra salt or additives. (One concern about canned foods is the potential for the can to include a liner made from bisphenol A/BPA.
Canned beans have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years. Store dried beans in a covered container for up to 1 year. You can precook kidney beans and store them, refrigerated, in their cooking liquid in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
1 cup of dried beans makes approximately 3 cups of cooked beans.
Canned kidney beans should be thoroughly rinsed before using. Dried kidney beans should be soaked before cooking, both to speed cooking time and to reduce any gas-causing tendencies. There are two ways to soak dried beans:
Overnight soak: Rinse the beans, then cover with an inch of cold water and let soak at room temperature for at least four hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans before cooking them.
Quick-soak method: Rinse the beans, then put in a saucepan, cover with an inch of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes and then let them soak for an hour off the heat, drain, and then add fresh water and continue cooking.
Soaked kidney beans will cook in about 60 minutes. Use 3 cups of water for each cup of uncooked beans, and you may wish to season the beans by adding bay leaves, herb sprigs, or garlic cloves to the cooking water. There’s a persistent myth that adding salt to beans while they cook will toughen their skins. This is not true, however, and salting the cooking water gives the beans better flavor.
There are hundreds of recipes on the internet that use kidney beans. Do a search and start adding them to your daily diet.