Rich in Good Nutrition
Loved for their texture and their ability to easily absorb flavors and seasonings White Kidney beans are part of many delectable and healthy recipes. Although native to Central and South America these beans have become part of traditional European and even Asian cuisine. Known as cannelleni in Italy these legumes don’t just make delicious meals but they deliver good nutrition for they are packed with vital minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber.
The White Kidney bean being a legume is a seed that grows in pods. So named because of its color and shape that resembles a kidney, this legume is one variety of common beans known scientifically as Phaseolus vulgaris. Like red kidney beans, White Kidney beans have a creamy texture when cooked and mashed, but, compared to red kidney beans, White Kidney beans have a milder flavor and have a hint of sweetness.
White Kidney beans originated from Peru and later introduced all throughout South and Central America by migrating Indian traders. The beans were brought to European shores in the 15th century by Spanish explorers returning from their conquests in the Americas and subsequently introduced to Asia and Africa by Spanish and Portuguese traders. At present India, China, Indonesia, Brazil and the United States are the largest producers of dried common beans.
Nutrients and Applications
White Kidney beans are a good source of protein, and they are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber binds with cholesterol-containing bile and carries it out of the digestive system thereby lowering cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber on the other hand eases constipation and promotes digestive health. Fiber also slows down the rate of digestion giving one a feeling of being full in between meals. A cup of cooked White Kidney beans can very well provide 15 grams of protein and approximately 45 percent of the Recommended Daily intake of fiber.
White Kidney beans also contain a good amount of the B vitamins, B1 and B9. B1 or thiamin is an essential nutrient for the formation and functioning of brain cells. It is likewise a vital component in the production of acetylcholine that aids the brain’s memory function. B9 or folate on the other hand helps improve heart health by reducing the levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream. High levels of homoscysteine increase one’s risk for heart attack and stroke. Aside from folate, White Kidney beans supply the body with magnesium which is important in ensuring cardiovascular health.
Like most legumes, White Kidney beans are rich in antioxidants that destroy free radicals thus counteracting their harmful effects. Kidney beans also contain molybdenum, a trace mineral that is a key component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase which acts as a detoxifier of sulfites found in prepared foods.*