Kidney Beans Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Kidney Beans

Kidney beans, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Kidney beans are a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). The red kidney-shaped bean is often used in dishes like chili and a variety of rice dishes. Kidney beans are commonly purchased canned or dried (in bulk or in bags). The legume provides substantial nutritional and health benefits and adding them to your meals is an easy way to boost both your protein and fiber intake.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1/2 cup (88.5g) of red kidney beans cooked with no added salt or fat.

  • Calories: 112.5
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 0.9mg
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Sugars: 0.3g
  • Protein: 7.5g

Carbs in Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a low-calorie food that provides a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates. There are three types of carbohydrate in a single 100-gram serving (about 1/3 cup) of cooked, canned, kidney beans.

Most of the carbohydrate in kidney beans come from starch. There are about nine grams of starch in a single serving. Carbohydrates in the form of starch provide the body with quick energy.

You'll also benefit from over five grams of fiber when you consume a 1/2 cup of kidney beans. Fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar, boost satiety, and improve digestive health. Kidney beans provide less than two grams of naturally-occurring sugar.

Kidney beans have a glycemic index (GI) of about 24. As a reference, foods with a GI of 55 or below are considered low glycemic foods. The glycemic load of a 100-gram serving of kidney beans is about six. Glycemic load takes the serving size of food into account when estimating the food's effect on blood sugar. A glycemic load of less than 10 is thought to have little effect on blood glucose response.

Fats in Kidney Beans

There is less than one gram of fat in kidney beans, which makes them a naturally low-fat food. Furthermore, most of that small amount of fat is considered to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, which are considered to be healthy fats.

Protein in Kidney Beans

Each serving of kidney beans provides over 7 grams of protein. For this reason, many vegans and vegetarians use kidney beans or other types of legumes to boost their protein intake.

However, kidney beans are not considered a complete protein. Complete proteins provide all of the essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body and therefore must be consumed in the diet.

You'll need to combine kidney beans with whole grain or with seeds in order to get all essential amino acids at mealtime.

Micronutrients in Kidney Beans

Kidney beans provide several vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins in kidney beans include folate (36 micrograms, or 9 percent of your daily needs). Folate, a B vitamin, helps boost red blood cell production and provides other health benefits. You also benefit from thiamin (8 percent of your daily needs), and smaller amounts of vitamin K (5 percent), vitamin B6 (4 percent), vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.

Minerals in kidney beans include phosphorus (9 percent), and manganese (8 percent), a vitamin that boosts nervous system and brain health.

You'll also benefit from copper, potassium, and magnesium, (7 percent each), iron (11 percent), and smaller amounts of calcium, zinc, and selenium.

Kidney beans also provide sodium, especially when you buy the canned variety. Usually, a serving of the canned variety provides about 300 milligrams or 12 percent of your daily needs. However, sodium is a mineral that many of need to consume less of—not more of.

Health Benefits

Legumes, like kidney beans, have been studied by nutrition researchers for years. They are commonly consumed, inexpensive, and widely grown around the world. Research suggests that increasing your intake of beans provides certain health benefits.

An evaluation of the nutritional value of legumes published in Obesity Reviews determined that "replacing energy-dense foods with legumes has been shown to have beneficial effects on the prevention and management of obesity and related disorders, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome." Study authors suggest replacing high-calorie, high-fat meaty foods (such as burgers and sausage) with beans or combining meat with legumes when cooking these foods in order to reduce fat and calorie content.

A review published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that including beans in your diet helps to lower LDL cholesterol (also called "bad" cholesterol).

Another review of studies found that increasing intake of beans, peas, and lentils can help patients with and without diabetes improve long-term glycemic control in their diets.

Common Questions

What Should I Look for When Purchasing Kidney Beans?

When you buy any legumes, look for whole, uncracked beans that have not been exposed to dirt, dust, or moisture. You can buy raw (uncooked) beans in bags or boxes, but many stores also sell raw kidney beans in the bulk section, so you can buy only the amount that you need.

You can also purchase canned kidney beans. These beans are already cooked. If you are watching your sodium intake, check the nutrition facts label before you buy, as some brands of kidney beans contain added salt.

How Do I Store Kidney Beans and How Long Will They Stay Fresh?

Store beans in an air-tight container in your pantry or in another cool, dark place. If stored properly, any type of bean should stay good for up to 12 months. If you cook kidney beans they will stay fresh for about three days when refrigerated in an airtight container.

How Should I Cook Kidney Beans?

Before cooking kidney beans, you should rinse them to remove any dirt or dust. Remove any cracked or broken beans.

Boil three cups of water and add one cup of beans. Simmer for roughly 20 minutes, although cooking time will depend on your taste preference.

Also, some cooks add seaweed to the pot when cooking beans. Some cooking and health experts suggest that seaweed helps reduce the gassiness that many bean-eaters experience.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Kidney beans have a mild, creamy, nutty flavor that makes them an easy addition to any dish. Enjoy kidney beans on meat-free Monday to boost your protein intake.

You'll find that kidney beans are a common ingredient in many recipes, but you don't need a recipe to make the most of this healthy food. If you have a favorite soup, stew, or salad recipe, simply toss in a handful of the beans to add flavor and nutrition. Also, if you have a kidney bean recipe and you are out of the beans, it is easy to substitute pinto beans or black beans.

These recipes include different types of beans, including red kidney beans. Give any of them a try to enjoy the hearty food:

Allergies and Interactions

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, legume allergies were assumed to be rare in the past, but are now more commonly recognized in adults and children. The source notes that in-office allergy testing may be able to reveal a sensitivity to certain beans, but that an oral challenge is the only way to know for sure if you are allergic to kidney beans.

Symptoms of a legume allergy may include swelling in the face, difficulty breathing, severe asthma, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, according to the Anaphylaxis Campaign, an allergy support network based in England.

If you suspect that you have an allergy to kidney beans or any legume, speak with your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis.

Antinutrients

Compounds that interfere with nutrient absorption are commonly referred to as "antinutrients." However, the term is misleading because all plants contain these nutrients, which have an effect only when consumed in extremely large quantities. The effects of these nutrients are negligible at the quantities you likely consume.

In addition, even though some consumers are concerned about anti-nutrients in grains and legumes, the substances are inactivated by appropriate soaking and cooking of the beans. So, unless you have a condition that may be impacted by these nutrients (such as iron-deficiency anemia) you shouldn't worry about them too much.

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Article Sources

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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