Today, Friday, September 20, 2019

Are Kidney Beans a Key to Weight Loss?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, during the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. As we know, obesity triggers numerous serious health risks, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and heart disease. By reducing weight even 5 to 10%, an individual can decrease his or her chance of developing these conditions. And, the simple addition of kidney beans to an individual's diet can help do just that. Kidney beans and weight loss go hand in hand.

Origin of Kidney Beans
The kidney bean plant (Phaseolus vulgaris) initially originated in the country of Peru, but it now is grown all across the world and used in most households. Buying the beans in Peru, Indian traders migrated to South and Central America where they distributed the beans throughout the region. Europe was then introduced to kidney beans by Spanish explorers returning from the New World. Afterward, Spaniards brought the beans to Asia and Africa. Since then, kidney beans have become popular in several cultures across the world with India, China, Indonesia, Brazil and the United States being the largest producers today.

While the whole kidney bean plant contains many specific uses, the sulfur-containing seeds, or beans, are the most commonly used for its health benefits. Kidney beans, often referred to as chili beans, are aptly name for its resemblance to the shape of a kidney. Characterized by a strong flavor and a color that is reddish brown in nature, kidney beans can be found at most local grocery stores and come in a can or bag to suit different cooking needs. These beans can be added to many different meals, many being Mexican dishes.

Bean Benefits
The American Heart Association reports that one in five deaths are attributed to heart disease, one out of every two people has high cholesterol, and over 12 million people worldwide die each year from cardiovascular disease. With heart disease as the number one killer in North America, it is important to take any small step an individual can to help reduce his or her chances of developing it.

Foods high in fiber have been proven to help prevent heart disease. Beans, more particularly kidney beans, are one of many foods that are high in fiber. Just one cup of cooked kidney beans contains 45.3% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. The high-fiber content in kidney beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. The beans help slow the speed of digestion, and the gradual flow of glucose in the blood stream helps to stabilize the blood sugar level.

Stabilizing blood sugar makes these beans ideal for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. Studies have shown that fiber also helps with stool bulk, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. But, the fiber benefits in kidney beans are just one of many benefits they have to offer.

Packed with Nutrients
Not only are kidney beans high in fiber, but they also contain a significant amount of vitamin B9, otherwise called folate. Folate is an ingredient in food that can greatly reduce the chance of a heart attack. The body has a difficult time retaining folate; therefore, it is important to eat foods high in folate. With only one cup of kidney beans, an individual consumes more than half of the recommended daily intake for folate, 57.3% to be exact.

Kidney beans are also a great supply of magnesium. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of Americans do not get the recommended daily allowance of magnesium. Magnesium clears veins and arteries and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients in the body. A lack of magnesium in the body increase free radical injury to the heart. To get 19.9% of his or her daily value of magnesium, an individual only needs one cup of kidney beans.

The list of health benefits of kidney beans is long. Aside from the above mentioned nutrients, the beans also contain vitamin B1 (thiamin) to increase brain cell function, iron to boost energy, molybdenum to detoxify sulfites and manganese to provide antioxidant defenses.  

Carbohydrate and Starch Blocker
Kidney bean extract is used in a variety of supplements and medications and is scientifically proven to act as a starch and carbohydrate blocker. The bean blocks alpha-amylase, an enzyme that aids in digestion by breaking down starches that are consumed. When an individual eats a meal high in carbohydrates, they must be broken down into smaller units called dextrins. Dextrins are a group of carbohydrates produced by the hydrolysis of starch. Then, dextrins break down into glucose, which can be stored as body fat.

When the body digests kidney beans, starch is prevented from breaking down into dextrin and glucose. Kidney bean consumption results in lower energy intake and more importantly, lower rates of body fat storage. The reduction or elimination of starch and carbohydrates from an individual's diet allows the body to burn off stored energy and replenish iron. This is where kidney beans come into play.

Ultimately, in much simpler terms, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar that stays in the bloodstream and eventually is stored as fat. Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that an extract in kidney beans prohibits the alpha-amylase digestive enzyme from cutting starches into sugars. Instead, starch stays in the body as fiber and burns off much quicker, allowing weight loss to be possible along with obtaining normal blood sugar levels.

Kidney Beans are Only Part of a Weight Loss Plan
While kidney beans are conducive to healthy weight management and weight loss, they are not the ultimate “magic” pill for weight issues. Kidney beans do have many health benefits, but a person looking to lose weight should eat healthy foods as well as limit starches and exercise regularly for the best results. And, kidney beans are a healthy food that can definitely aid in this process.

These protein-packed and fiber-rich beans are low in fat and help an individual feel fuller faster. Thus, a bean-centered diet increases an individual's chances of losing weight, especially with the carbohydrate-blocking properties. Exercise, kidney beans and weight loss are the perfect combination for anyone's daily regimen.

Sign up for our Newsletter
Email Address:

Contact Us