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Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are one of the many varieties of common beans. These common beans, scientifically known as 'Phaseolus vulgaris', are annual plants that are cultivated throughout the world for their edible beans. Red kidney beans are red in color and have a shape quite similar to that of a human kidney. The kidney beans are also known as 'Rajma' in Hindi and are a popular form of cuisine in India, particularly in the northern region. Their ability to absorb the flavors of the seasoning used in food make it them ideal for cooking simmered dishes.

History of Kidney Beans
Kidney beans originated in Peru along with other forms of common beans like white beans, black beans, navy beans, etc. The Indian traders who had migrated to Peru brought these beans for trading purposes. From here, these beans spread to the whole of South and
Central America. The kidney beans made their first advent in Europe in the 15th century through the Spanish explorers who were returning from their voyages to the New World. Later on, the kidney beans came to Asia and Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese traders.
 
Nutrients Found in Kidney Beans/Red Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are a very healthy source of food and contain lots of nutrients essential for the growth of the body. The various healthy nutrients found in kidney beans are:
  • Vitamins: Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Folic Acid, etc.
  • Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Selenium, etc.
  • Amino Acids: Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Arginine, Histidine, Alanine, Glycine, etc.
  • Other Nutrients: Molybdenum, Dietary Fiber, Folate, etc.

Effects of Kidney Beans of Health
Kidney beans have a very favorable effect on our health as they contain all the vital nutrients necessary for the overall development of the body. Following are some of the positive effects of the consumption of kidney beans on our body:

  • Kidney beans are rich in many soluble and insoluble fibers, which in turn help in lowering the level of cholesterol in our body. These fiber-rich kidney beans/white kidney beans also help in improving the blood sugar level and are thus, a good source of diet for people suffering from diabetes or hypoglycemia
  • The presence of fibers also helps in reducing the various risks associated with coronary heart diseases. Folate and magnesium present in kidney beans also help in preventing heart diseases. Folate helps in decreasing the levels of 'homocysteine', an amino acid. An increased blood level of these homocysteines are the actual cause of strokes, heart attacks, etc. Thus folate rich kidney beans help to mitigate the risk of hearts attacks to a great extent
  • The kidney beans are also rich in iron, a vital requirement for energizing the body. They thus help in replenishing the iron in our body. It is extremely important for pregnant women to have kidney beans because they need more of iron during this time. The flow of blood is also increased due to these iron rich kidney beans
  • Red kidney beans also contain thiamine or Vitamin B1, which is critical for the proper functioning of the brain cells. They, thus help in improving the memory power, and in reducing the Alzheimer's disease.
 
Storage and Preparation of Kidney Beans

Kidney beans must be stored in a cool, dry place. Before preparing them, these kidney beans should be soaked in cold water for close to eight hours. After soaking them, drain and rinse them, while discarding the soaked water. Then boil the beans in a pan for 10 minutes to destroy the toxins. Boiling the beans is very crucial as uncooked, unboiled beans have toxins known as 'lectin phytohaemagglutinin' which can cause severe stomach upset if eaten in raw form. The boiling process helps in degrading the compound and thus eliminate the toxin. For cooking the beans, add the required amount of water to the dried beans. The water should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. As soon as the beans start to boil, reduce it to a simmer and partially cover the pot.
 
They should be cooked for about 45-60 minutes to have a creamy, soft texture. Hard textured beans mean that these beans require a longer time to cook. One should never add any seasoning that is salty or acidic in nature until the beans have been completely boiled as adding them a little earlier can make these beans tough, apart from increasing the cooking time.