If you’re a vegan foodie, you must have heard about kidney beans. Kidney beans are a type of common beans and a legume native to Mexico and Central America. They have a lot of protein and are an essential food crop.
Kidney beans are a plant-based food. It is a leguminous crop. Kidney beans are extensively used in many traditional dishes and are often eaten well-cooked. Improperly cooked kidney beans are pretty toxic.
Are Kidney Beans Vegan?
Kidney beans are 100% vegan, and since they are neither a by-product of animals nor derived from animals, vegans can consume them without any doubt.
Kidney beans are available in many different patterns and colors, including black, white, purple, cream, red, mottled, striped, and spotted. To know more about vegan-friendly kidney beans and how they should be consumed, read the article below.
What Exactly Are Kidney Beans?
Some people have this hilarious idea of kidney beans made up of actual kidneys. No, that is not the case. They are called kidney beans because they have a similar shape and color to kidneys. Kidney beans are a kind of legume available in two varieties: dark red and light red. These kinds are firmer than most other types of beans; the light red ones are a bit softer than their darker brothers.
Kidney beans share the same ancestor as pintos, navy beans, and black beans. The European explorers first discovered the ancestor bean in Peru. They also helped in spreading the common beans around the world. In today’s time, kidney beans are considered an essential part of mesoamerican and Caribbean cuisine.
Types of Kidney Beans
- Red kidney beans: Also called common kidney beans, surkh lobia in Pakistan, and rajma in India.
- Light speckled kidney bean: They are pink, beige, or red. Talking about their taste, it has a bit of sweetness, which is why it is known as sugar bean or sweet bean in some countries. It has a large market all over the world.
- Red speckled kidney bean: Red speckled kidney beans are also known as sugar beans. They consist of fiber content that is highly soluble and tends to absorb the water in the stomach, which forms a gel that delays bean carbohydrates’ absorption.
- White kidney bean: White kidney beans are also known as cannellini beans in Italy, white lobia in Pakistan, and in India, they are called lobia. These are one of the largest beans of the group, and of course, because of their shape (traditional kidney shape), they are called white kidney beans around the world. They are meatier than great northern or navy beans. They have an earthy flavor and tender flesh. These are often used in Italian dishes.
Health Benefits of Kidney Beans
Nutritionists often recommend beans as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet because of their high nutritional value. Kidney beans can easily be counted as a vegetable and a protein source. Having at least half a cup of beans daily can upgrade your overall health.
According to a study, eating beans daily can make you consume fat and less saturated fat. People who eat them consume more protein, fiber, iron, folate, and other vital minerals.
Here are some of the health benefits o kidney beans:
- The presence of soluble dietary fiber in kidney beans helps in lowering cholesterol.
- Kidney beans are suitable for people with diabetes because of their low glycemic index.
- The adequate levels of vitamin B1 present in kidney beans help in the boosting of concentration and memory.
- They have anti-oxidative properties.
- Kidney beans are a powerhouse of proteins as they contain high protein content, which can serve as a substitute for meat.
- The molybdenum in kidney beans makes it a natural detoxifier.
- Kidney beans are a good source of magnesium, potassium, protein, and soluble fiber, which helps in reducing hypertension.
- Dietary fiber in kidney beans helps in weight loss.
- The insoluble dietary fiber in kidney beans helps in relieving constipation.
- The antioxidants present in kidney beans help in boosting immunity.
- Kidney beans have anti-aging properties.
- When consumed in the correct quantity, they can cleanse your stomach.
- The high quality and quantity of magnesium present in kidney beans help in the improvement of heart health.
- The calcium and manganese present in kidney beans help to strengthen the bones.
- The magnesium in kidney beans helps in preventing migraines. It also helps in stabilizing blood pressure.
- Vitamin B6 in kidney beans helps tissue repair and hair and skin growth.
- Vitamin B3 is present in kidney beans in considerable amounts, which reduces and sometimes cures cataracts.
- The content of copper present in kidney beans helps in relieving rheumatoid arthritis. Cooper also helps in improving the flexibility of joints.
- They help in relieving asthma.
Things to Watch Out For
A natural protein in kidney beans can cause gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Out of all the beans, kidney beans have the largest amount of toxin called phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). Cooking the beans properly can destroy this toxin, so while making kidney beans, always cook them thoroughly.
Canned beans are entirely safe to eat because they are wholly cooked during the canning process. However, do not use a slow cooker for cooking the beans because using a slow cooker may not heat the beans correctly enough to destroy the toxin there.
Like most beans, kidney beans can also cause gas. So if you’re cooking the dry beans, go with the hot soak method because it has proved to be the best method for reducing the compound in kidney beans that causes gas.
How to Select and Store Kidney Beans
Dried kidney beans are primarily available in bulk bins and prepackaged containers. Just like with any other food product you buy in the bulk section, always ensure that the bins are appropriately covered and that the store has the best product turnover rate.
Whether buying kidney beans in a packaged container or bulk, always try to make sure that there is no evidence of insect damage or moisture and that the beans are not cracked.
There is a bit of difference between the canned kidney beans’ nutritional value and those you cook yourself. The nutritional value gets lowered by canning because the process of canning requires a lot of cooking at high temperatures.
However, if you seem to enjoy canned beans more, go ahead. Try and enjoy them. Just one suggestion – go for those beans that do not contain additives or extra salt!
The cooked kidney beans will stay fresh in the refrigerator if kept in an airtight container for about three or more days.
Kidney beans are considered a delight for vegans. You’re now also aware of what kidney beans exactly are, their health benefits, and how to cook and consume them; you are all set to try these beans in the best way.
Kidney beans are the best source of phosphorus, manganese, protein, iron, vitamin B1, magnesium, and potassium. They also add plenty of fiber and health benefits to your dishes. Also, make sure to have kidney beans in a limited amount and properly cook them to avail all of their benefits adequately.