Both dried and canned, they're available throughout the year.
Dried beans are generally available in pre-packaged containers as well as in bulk bins at your supermarket.
And, true to their name, these popular beans are kidney shaped and are especially good in simmered dishes (I'm thinking of chile con carne) where they absorb the flavors of seasonings and the other foods with which they are cooked.
A Fiber All Star
Check most charts of the fiber content in foods and you'll see legumes leading the pack.
Kidney beans, like other beans, are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber.
Just one cup of this variety cooked, provides 45.3% of the recommended daily intake for fiber.
Lower Your Heart Attack Risk
Kidney beans' contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate and magnesium these beans supply.
It's been estimated that consumption of 100% of the daily value (DV) of folate would, by itself, reduce the number of heart attacks suffered by Americans each year by 10%.
Just one cup of these cooked super beans provides more than half (57.3%) of the recommended daily intake for folate.
Their good supply of magnesium puts yet another plus in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects.
Magnesium is Nature's own calcium channel blocker.
When there's enough magnesium around, veins and arteries breathe a deep sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
These Legumes Give You Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar
In addition to the beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, these beans can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.
Iron for Energy
In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, these super legumes can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores.
Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with kidney beans is a good idea, especially because, unlike red meat, another source of iron, these super legumes are low in calories and virtually fat-free.
Maintain Your Memory with Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Thiamin participates in enzymatic reactions central to energy production and is also critical for brain cell/cognitive function.
Manganese for Energy Production and Antioxidant Defense
Kidney beans are a good source of the trace mineral manganese which is an essential co-factor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
Protein Power Plus
If you're wondering how to replace red meat in your menus, become a fan of these beans.
These hearty beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fat found in these foods.
How to Select & Store
Dried kidney beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins.
Just as with any other food that you purchase in the bulk section, make sure the bins are covered and that the store has a good product turnover rate.
Store your dried legumes in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they'll keep for up to 12 months.
Cooked kidney beans will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.
How to Enjoy
Tips for Preparing Kidney Beans:
Before washing, spread them out on a light colored plate or cooking surface to check for and remove stones and damaged beans.
When done, place the beans in a strainer and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.
To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, the beans should be pre-soaked (pre-soaking has been found to reduce the raffinose-type oligosaccharides, sugars associated with causing flatulence.)
There are two basic methods for pre-soaking.
For each, start by placing the beans in a saucepan with two to three cups of water per cup of beans.
The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take the pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours.
The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator, so the beans don't ferment.
Before cooking the beans, regardless of pre-soaking method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.
Cook the beans, you can either cook them on the stove top or use a pressure cooker.
For the stove top method, add three cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of dried beans.
The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans.
Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot.
If any foam develops, simply skim it off during the simmering process.
This variety of super beans generally take about one and one-half hours to become tender using this method.
They can also be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about one-half hour to prepare.
Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked.
Adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.
A Quick Serving Suggestion
Kidney Bean & Beef Chili
Even budget-conscious shoppers can keep meat on the menu.
Take comfort food to the next level with this low-cal, fiber-rich recipe.
* 6 oz. lean beef top round, cut into chunks
* 1 Tbs. olive or canola oil
* 1/2 c. chopped onion
* 1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
* 1 Tbs. minced garlic
* 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp. sea salt
* 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 1 c. canned crushed tomatoes
* 1 c. chicken broth
* 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* 4 tsp. sour cream
* 4 tsp. grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1. Pulse beef in food processor 1 minute, until coarsely ground.
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook beef and onion until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer to 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
Add bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, tomatoes and broth.
2. Cover. Cook on low 4 to 6 hours.
Add beans and cook on high, stirring occasionally, 1 more hour.
Serve topped with dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cheese.
Fat 9.7 g.
Saturated Fat 2.9 g.
Cholesterol 21.7 mg.
Sodium 511.8 mg.
Carbohydrates 27.1 g.
Total Sugars 3 g.
Dietary Fiber 9.9 g.
Protein 18.3 g.Tweet
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