White kidney beans — so named due to their convex shape that resembles the kidney — are among the best foods for helping you lose weight due to their high fiber content, which leaves you feeling full for longer and keeps food cravings at bay. Native to Central and South America, they are well known for their texture and their ability to absorb flavors. Rich in fiber, white kidney beans also contain essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and proteins.
White kidney beans and other legumes are rich in antioxidants, which are known to have anticancer properties. When cells in your body metabolize, they produce compounds known as free radicals. Such compounds bind to your cells, causing aging, cancer and chronic diseases. Antioxidants destroy free radicals, countering their harmful effects.
Rich in Fiber
White kidney beans, just like other legumes, contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 1 cup serving of cooked kidney beans satisfies 45 percent of the Recommended Daily Value (DV) of dietary fiber. Once in your digestive system, soluble fiber binds itself with the bile acids and removes it out of your body. This prevents such bile acids from being reabsorbed in your liver and hence inhibits synthesis of harmful cholesterol. Insoluble fiber prevents constipation by increasing the bulk of your stool. (Ref 4) This prevents digestive complications such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
Rich in vitamin B9 — also called folate or folic acid — and low in fat, white kidney beans are heart-healthy. Folate reduces the levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the bloodstream. In elevated amounts, homocysteine increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Findings published in the October 2002 issue of “Journal of the American Medical Association” indicate that if Americans consumed 100 percent of the daily value of folate, the risk factor for heart attacks would decline by 10 percent to 11 percent annually due to lower levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream. A 1-cup serving of white beans should satisfy more than 50 percent of the DV for folate.
Improved Cognitive Ability
White kidney beans are rich in vitamin B1, or thiamin, which is necessary for formation and operation of brain cells. Thiamin is a key component in the synthesis of acetylcholine, which ensures that your memory functions properly. When eaten daily, a 1-cup serving of white kidney beans can help improve and maintain your cognitive function.
Kidney beans contain molybdenum, a trace mineral that is a key constituent of an enzyme known as sulfite oxidase. This enzyme detoxifies sulfites commonly found in prepared foods such as salad bars. If you are sensitive to sulfites, you may experience headache, rapid heartbeat or disorientation. Reacting adversely to sulfites indicates that molybdenum stores in your body are insufficient to cleanse them. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods website, 1 cup of cooked white kidney beans meets 177 percent of your DV for molybdenum.