Fit woman supplementing with white kidney bean extract running to help burn fat

White Kidney Beans: Benefits of the Lean Bean

Beans, beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat, the more you…maintain your weight? While the old children's song doesn't go quite like that, there is truth to the many benefits of beans, and not just the musical ones. Beans, especially white kidney beans (aka cannellini beans), have a long list of health benefits, including support for a healthy heart and brain. If your wellness goals include weight management and you aren't getting the fiber and protein of kidney beans, you're missing out on a nutrient that could take your better-body plan to the next level.

What are kidney beans?

White kidney beans in a bowl on wooden surface

Kidney beans are a legume native to Central America that are a power-packed source of protein. You'll find them in a variety of shapes, colors and patterns, including white, black, red or spotted—to name a few.

Kidney beans are most commonly used in your favorite hearty soups and stews, not to mention a delicious addition to healthy salads. When it comes to versatility, cost and shelf-stableness, these beans are hard to beat!

They're also extremely nutritious. Kidney beans are mostly complex carbs and fiber—which is an important part of any diet, but especially when weight management is a goal. Kidney beans are also an excellent source of protein. In fact, 3.5 ounces of boiled kidney beans provides 127 calories, 8.7 g protein, 22.8 g carbs and 6.4 g of fiber.

Not only do these beans boast nutritional value, but they are also an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals. A serving of kidney beans will provide you with nutrients like folate, iron, copper, potassium and vitamin K1.

What's so special about white kidney beans?

Supporing better body goals white kidney beans in a bowl

You can and should enjoy any kidney beans, no matter what color or texture—as long as you're choosing a variety with no sugar added (and go light on added salt, too).
If you're trying to trim down, reach for the rich, tender-tasting white kidney bean. Because these beans contain high amounts of dietary fiber, they increase satiety, which helps you to feel full faster and stick to your weight management goals. By adding white kidney beans to your meals, you may stay full longer between meals without feeling hungry. (Supplementing with a low-dose fiber that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners may also help.)

White kidney beans are also packed with protein, making them ideal for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet. High-protein foods not only curb hunger, but also help you build muscle when coupled with a daily exercise regimen. As a bonus, increased protein intake helps increase your metabolic rate, which results in more calories burned throughout the day.

7 health benefits of white kidney beans

Woman talking to her doctor about white kidney bean extract

  • Healthy weight management

    . Cannellini beans are low in calories and high in fiber, which can keep you feeling full and satisfied, and make it easier to stick to your diet plan. Several studies have associated cannellini consumption with healthy weight management.
  • Digestive health

    . Consuming white beans and other foods rich in dietary fiber helps to support gut health and bowel health. A review suggests a high-fiber diet may increase stool frequency. Cannellini beans also contain a prebiotic that helps feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which supports immune and whole-body health.
  • Nutrient-dense plant protein

    . Cannellini beans are rich in protein and other vital nutrients, such as iron and zinc. This makes them an excellent food choice for vegans and vegetarians who may struggle to get adequate protein in their diets.
  • Healthy blood sugar levels

    . Kidney beans are complex carbohydrates, which are digested and absorbed slowly and have a lesser impact on blood glucose.
  • Cardiovascular health

    . The soluble fiber in cannellini beans helps to support healthy cholesterol levels and encourage heart health. Additionally, cannellini beans provide magnesium, potassium and folate, which also promote a healthy heart.
  • Healthy energy levels and cognitive function

    . The folate, magnesium and B vitamins in white kidney beans provide a boost to brain health as well. Research shows these nutrients support energy production and every aspect of brain function.
  • Free radical protection

    . Cannellini beans are high in antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, and may help protect cells from free radical damage.

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How do I add white kidney beans to my diet?

Incorporating more beans into your diet may be easier than you think!

  • Use beans as your protein in salads, soups and pasta dishes. Cannellini beans are featured in classic Italian dishes such as pasta e fagioli, minestrone and white bean stew.
  • Add whole kidney beans to your chili recipe, or mash kidney beans into cooked ground beef to make your meat go further.
  • Add cooked and cooled (or canned) cannellini beans to smoothies for a boost of protein and creaminess.
  • Make a white bean and artichoke dip with cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and seasonings.
  • Add a puree of cannellini beans (canned or cooked beans) to the batter of a boxed cake or brownie mix in place of half the recipe's fat content for added fiber, protein and nutrition.

What else should I do to maintain a healthy weight?

Man with healthy white kidney bean diet and nutrients exercising outdoors

No matter how many beans you eat, other healthy lifestyle choices need to be part of your weight management plan.

  • Fill your plate with healthy foods

    . A proper, healthy diet is the foundation for a successful weight management plan. Eat a diet rich in lean healthy meats, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and veggies. Each meal should be well balanced with protein, carbs and fats to fuel your body throughout the day. Proper nutrition is about more than weight management—the right foods provide your internal systems with the energy you need to work, exercise, take care of family, and participate in any other daily functions.
  • Drink plenty of water

    . H2O is the way to go when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Ditch the sugary sodas or artificially flavored drinks and opt for a glass of pure water instead. Your body needs proper hydration to function and flush out toxins. Water also helps keep you feeling full and aids in digestion. Make sure you are consuming at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water throughout each day to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine.
  • Make exercise a priority

    . Incorporate daily exercise into your routine. You don't have to lift weights or thrust kettlebells into the air to reap the benefits of physical fitness, either. Walking, jogging, tennis and even swimming are all great ways to get your body moving, have fun and burn some unwanted body fat in the process. Although 150 minutes per week is the ideal amount of exercise, less than that can be helpful, as well.
  • Promote your AMPK levels

    . If diet and daily exercise aren't yielding the results you are looking for, it's time to jumpstart your AMPK levels. Supplementing with an AMPK activator can help burn stubborn belly fat—and who doesn't want that?

Managing your weight isn't easy, but proper nutrition can help. Is weight management a priority for you? Get customized supplement advice with our Weight Health Quiz, or talk with one of our Wellness Specialists for free today!

About the Author: Jennifer Jhon graduated from Auburn University with a degree in journalism and communications. She established her career as an editor, designer and writer at several newspapers and magazines. She has been writing about wellness, health and nutrition for 10 years.


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