Cannellini beans, commonly known as white kidney beans, are a highly nutritious and versatile legume that has long been consumed in the Mediterranean region.
However, these beans have become increasingly popular worldwide due to their health benefits and culinary uses.
Cannellini beans are primarily found in Italian dishes and will be a great addition to any salad or soup.
They have been shown to control appetite, enhance weight loss, control blood sugar, increase energy and lower the risk of heart disease.
Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional benefits of these beans.
See also 11 Proven Benefits of Flageolet Beans and Instant Pot Black Beans (No Soaking).
What are Cannellini Beans?
Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are a popular type of kidney-shaped bean that is cream white in color.
They are believed to have originated from North and South America in counties such as Peru and were later cultivated by Italian immigrants living in Argentina. They were then brought back to Italy, where they grew them commercially.
Cannellini beans have a tender texture and a nutty, earthy flavor, making them versatile ingredients in several dishes, including soups, stews, and chilies.
Cannellini Beans Nutritional Facts
A cup serving of white cannellini beans contains about:
- Calories: 249
- Carbs: 44.9 grams
- Fat: 0.6 grams
- Fiber: 11.3 grams
- Protein: 17.4 grams
- Manganese: 1.1 mg, or 57 percent of the daily value
- Iron: 6.6mg, or 37 percent of DV
- Potassium: 1004 mg, or 29 percent of DV
- Copper: 0.5 mg, or 26 percent of DV
- Folate: 145 mcg, or 36 percent of DV
- Thiamine: 0.2 mg, or 14 percent of the DV
- Phosphorus: 202 mg, or 20% of the DV
- Magnesium: 113 mg, or 28 percent of DV
- Zinc: 2.5 mg, or 16 percent of the DV
- Calcium: 161 mg, or 1 percent of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, or 8 percent of the DV
- Riboflavin: 0.1 mg, or 5 percent of the DV
The Proven Benefits of Cannellini Beans
1. Aids in weight loss
Losing as little as 5-10 percent of your total body weight can help you improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugars, and boost your self-confidence.
One easy way to achieve this is by eating foods low in calories but high in fiber and other nutrients that boost metabolism.
Generally, cannellini beans are low in calories and high in fiber, which can keep you feeling full and satisfied, thus reducing your overall calorie intake. Notably, several studies have found that consumption of cannellini beans can be associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity.
Additionally, a recent review of over 11 studies revealed that a diet that includes beans could lead to significant weight loss and overall health and well-being.
2. Aids in digestion and prevents constipation
White kidney beans are high in dietary fiber, essential in digestion and preventing constipation. Furthermore, the high fiber content in cannellini beans promotes regular bowel movements by bulking up the stools and making them easier to pass.
This can also help prevent constipation, which can be uncomfortable, leading to further digestive issues.
Research has shown that fiber also promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) upon fermentation.
SCFAS aid in nourishing the cells lining the colon, thus promoting a healthy gut barrier and overall gut health.
3. Improves blood sugar control
Studies have also shown that kidney beans are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which are slowly digested and absorbed by the body, thus aiding in regulating blood sugar levels.
Additionally, the high fiber content in cannellini beans is beneficial in slowing down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, thus aiding in preventing sharp spikes in blood sugar levels.
4. Prevention of colon cancer
Observational studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in legumes such as beans can be associated with a lower risk of colon cancer. Overly, the high fiber content in cannellini beans is essential to promote regular bowel movements, aiding in the removal of toxins and preventing constipation, all of which are beneficial in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
A study, in particular, reported that Fiber usually binds to toxins and cancer-causing compounds in the colon and helps in their excretion.
5. Supports healthy bones
Like other types of beans, Cannellini beans are a good source of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are vital for bone health. Research has shown that calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of strong bones, while magnesium and phosphorus play significant roles in bone mineralization and maintenance of bone density.
Notably, a diet rich in these nutrients is vital in preventing age-related bone loss leading to a decline in the risk of osteoporosis.
6. A great option for vegetarians and vegans
Cannellini beans can be an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans since they are rich in protein and other vital nutrients, such as iron and zinc.
Generally, protein helps build and repair tissues and is beneficial for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
On the other hand, iron is essential for producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, while zinc aids in the proper functioning of the immune system.
7. May lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease
Cannellini beans contain high amounts of soluble fiber, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Usually, soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance that binds to cholesterol particles in the digestive tract, thus preventing them from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Additionally, cannellini beans provide magnesium, potassium, and folate, essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Studies have shown that magnesium aids in regulating blood pressure and reducing the risk of hypertension, while potassium lowers blood pressure leading to a decline in the risk of stroke.
On the other hand, folate helps to reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease.
8. Improves inflammation in the body
Cannellini beans also contain flavonoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds essential for alleviating inflammation in the body.
Research has shown that these substances can help reduce the production of inflammatory molecules in the body, thus reducing symptoms of chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.
9. Improves brain function and cognitive performance
Cannellini beans provide nutrients such as iron, folate, and vitamin B, which are essential for brain health. Research has shown that these nutrients foster the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help transmit signals in the brain.
As such, eating cannellini beans can help boost the levels of these nutrients in the body, leading to improved brain function and cognitive performance.
10. Protect against the development of anemia
Cannellini beans contain reasonable amounts of iron, an essential nutrient in producing hemoglobin responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Generally, Iron deficiency is the primary cause of anemia, a condition that occurs when the body is deficient in red blood cells.
As such, scientists and dieticians recommend eating foods rich in iron, such as kidney beans, that can help prevent anemia by ensuring the body has optimum iron levels to produce hemoglobin.
11. Promote healthy skin and hair
The zinc and vitamins A, C, E, and K in white beans are significant for maintaining healthy skin and hair. Research has shown that zinc helps moisten the skin and prevents dryness and inflammation.
On the other hand, laboratory studies have shown that vitamin E keeps the skin moisturized, while vitamin A promotes healthy cell growth within the skin.
Additionally, vitamin C promotes collagen production, which is essential in giving the skin elasticity, and vitamin K help with hair growth and maintenance.
12. Supports pregnancy outcomes
White kidney beans provide significant pregnancy nutrients such as protein, iron, and folic acid. Studies have shown that protein aids in the growth and development of the fetus.
On the other hand, iron helps to prevent anemia. Anemia during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth (delivery before 37 complete weeks of pregnancy), low birth weight baby and postpartum depression.
Finally, folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby.
Moreover, cannellini beans are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can prevent constipation during pregnancy.
13. May reduce symptoms of menopause
Kidney beans are known to contain phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Studies have revealed that estrogen levels tend to decrease during menopause, which can lead to symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
If not controlled, these symptoms can make life unbearable and eating phytoestrogen-rich foods like white beans can help.
14. Boost energy levels and improve athletic performance
Cannellini beans are also an excellent source of carbohydrates, the body’s primary energy source. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to be used by the cells as energy for various cellular processes.
By providing a steady supply of glucose, white kidney beans are crucial for boosting energy levels and overall improving athletic performance.
Additionally, cannellini beans provide protein, which studies have shown is vital for building and repairing muscle tissue. Therefore, incorporating cannellini beans into your diet supports muscle growth and repair, leading to a steady supply of strength and power during athletic activities.
15. Protection against cellular damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases
Lastly, the high antioxidant content in cannellini beans, including flavonoids and polyphenols, is vital in protecting the cells from free radical damage.
Free radicals can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Thus, antioxidants in the white kidney beans can aid in neutralizing the free radicals and help protect you from such conditions.
16. Natural cleanser
White beans are a nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive natural cleanser that can help eliminate toxins in the body.
For one, they are rich in antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, which helps keep your body working efficiently so it can maintain internal cleansing mechanisms.
They also offer a good amount of molybdenum, an essential trace mineral occurring naturally in foods. Molybdenum. It’s a component of 4 different enzymes that helps break down alcohol, protein, drugs, purines, sulfites, and toxins.
Other good sources of molybdenum include other legumes, leafy vegetables, nuts, and cereal grains.
17. Improves blood circulation
White beans are high in protein and fiber, which are essential nutrients for boosting healthy circulation. The fiber in these beans can help maintain healthy blood vessel walls, including those of your arteries and veins. This can help prevent blockage that may impede blood flow.
On the other hand, protein promotes the production of new red blood cells, which help carry oxygen and other nutrients to your tissues and organs.
White Bean Recipes
White Bean and Tomato Soup
If you are wondering what white-bean recipes to try, white bean soup is definitely a must-try. Besides, it’s easy to make and can be a hearty and delicious soup for the winter.
You can make this soup with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and precooked white beans. I like throwing in some kale and spices like thyme and rosemary. This soup is also vegan and gluten-free.
White Bean and Kale Salad
White beans and kale make a great combination and can help you get a good dose of protein, fiber, and other nutrients. You can also include cherry tomatoes and red onions for a beautiful color contrast. You can use this salad as a main dish or a side dish.
White bean stew
To make this recipe:
- Chop up some red onion and crush 2 cloves of garlic.
- Add them in a sizable pot depending on the amount of beans you have.
- Stir the onions and let them cook in olive oil until softened.
- Add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, white beans, vegetable broth, or water, salt, and spices.
- Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Enjoy your stew as is, or serve it with rice or crusty bread.
Cannellini beans are a delicious and healthy legume that can help boost your health and wellbeing. They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to stay strong and healthy. They can boost your immune system, control blood sugar, prevent cancer and more.
In addition, it’s easy to incorporate into the diet. You can make soup, stew, or add them to salads.
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