Bean: The Complete Guide | Protein Content In Bean

Rohit Kumar

5 min read | Sep 16, 2020



Beans are the edible seeds of legume plants, which are members of the Fabaceae family. Beans are packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, and minerals. Given their versatility, there are countless ways to cook beans, including boiling, frying, and baking. They are an integral part of several traditional dishes worldwide.


Beans are a boon, especially for vegetarians. They are affordable, tasty, and full of health benefits. Coming from the line of legume plants, beans are not only delicious but also contribute to a sustainable environment.


Let’s review different types of beans and their nutritional value.

Types Of Beans


Kidney Beans (Rajma)


The quintessential Punjabi rajma, when paired with hot rice, is comfort food for many North Indians. The staple part of this dish is the kidney-shaped beans called kidney beans or rajma.


Kidney beans rank very low on the glycemic index (remember, low GI foods are good food sources) and are an excellent source of starchy carbs, accounting for ~70% of their calories.


The low GI score helps tremendously in controlling blood sugar levels, and various studies have also linked the consumption of beans with a decreased risk of colon cancer.


The heavenly combination of rajma and rice caters not only to your taste buds but also helps you get the whole gamut of amino acids. Most plant protein sources (except for beans) lack lysine, one of the nine essential amino acids.


Plant proteins are not complete proteins (protein sources with adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids), so pairing them with the right foods can help you get the full range of essential amino acids.


As such, kidney beans, though not a complete protein source, can be paired with rice to fetch the missing essential amino acid methionine.


A 100g serving of kidney beans provides a moderate 127 calories with around 9g protein and 23g complex carbohydrates.


Black-Eyed Peas (Lobia)


If you are a southerner in the United States, you are accustomed to the New Year’s tradition of eating black-eyed peas to summon good luck and prosperity. Despite the misleading name, this legume is a bean, not a pea.


Black-eyed peas also have a high concentration of polyphenols, which help curb cell damage and may even diminish type 2 diabetes risk by increasing insulin sensitivity.


The high soluble fiber content can also act as a prebiotic (not to be confused with probiotics, which are live beneficial bacteria), feeding the friendly bacteria in your stomach.


Fiber also assists in regulating stool frequency for those facing constipation. In addition, recent research indicates that fiber helps alleviate digestive issues such as stomach ulcers, acid reflux, and hemorrhoids.


The seeds are nutrient-dense, providing about 8g of protein and 21g of carbohydrates per 100g of the beans, which are also a rich source of folate, thiamine, and copper.


Chickpeas (Chana)


Originally indigenous to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the Silk Route introduced chickpeas or garbanzo beans to the world. Since then, the world has savored this super versatile and affordable food in salads, sandwiches, and curries.


Chickpeas are a better protein source than other legumes as they pack almost all the essential amino acids and serve as a substitute for meat. In addition, the low glycemic index of chickpeas ensures blood glucose levels don’t experience sudden swings and helps with healthy blood sugar control.


Additionally, the soluble fiber present in the beans promotes healthy gut bacteria and significantly improves digestive health. Punjabi chole and hummus are two popular dishes with chickpeas as the main ingredient.


A 100g serving provides 160 calories with 27g of carbohydrates and 9g of protein.


Black Beans (Kaale Sem)


Those from Central and South America know black beans well. Also known as turtle beans, black beans are nourishing as they are jam-packed with protein, fiber, and folate. They are also a good source of manganese, magnesium, thiamine, and iron.


High protein and fiber can regulate ghrelin, the hunger hormone, thus helping with weight loss. Rich fiber content may also aid gut health. Black beans, too, have a low glycemic index, reducing blood sugar spikes. Black beans can be an ingredient in curry, smoothies, cookies, burgers, and soups, among other dishes.


A 100g serving provides 132 calories with 24g of carbohydrates and 9g of protein.


Pinto Beans (Pinto Sem)


Pinto beans are popular in Northern Mexico and the US Southwest. They are commonly eaten whole, mashed, or fried. Soaking pinto beans considerably cuts cooking time. Soaked pinto beans take around 3 minutes to cook versus 20-45 minutes if they are not soaked.


Pinto beans are abundant in fiber, protein, and folate. Manganese, copper, and thiamine are also present in reasonable amounts. Like many other beans, pinto beans do not cause blood sugar rushes. However, aA consistent intake of pinto beans lowers both bad LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, reducing heart disease risk.


Pinto beans are also considered good for gut health as they are fiber-rich, plus they help increase the production of propionate, a short-chain fatty acid produced by gut bacteria that is good for gut health. Pinto beans are featured in dishes such as soup, curry, rolls-up, burgers, etc.


A 100g serving of boiled pinto beans provides ~143 calories, 26g of carbs, and 9g of protein.


Navy Beans


‘Navy bean’ is an American term created in the mid-1800s when the US Navy started serving beans as a staple. They are also referred to as haricot or pea beans. Minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and iron are abundant in fiber-rich navy beans. They also are abundant in folate and thiamine.


Navy beans are featured in numerous soups such as Senate bean soup, dishes like baked beans, and pies. Due to their high fiber content, navy beans appear to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.


A group of obese and overweight individuals experienced a reduction in waist circumference, blood pressure, and blood glucose after they ate five cups of navy beans and other legumes per week over eight weeks, accompanied by effective counseling. 1


A 100g serving of navy beans offers 140 calories, 26g of carbs, and 8g of protein.

Conclusion And My Recommendation


Beans are abundant in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. They also have a moderate to high amount of minerals and B vitamins. They are highly adaptable and can be featured in a variety of dishes.


Beans are a gem, not just for vegetarians but also for non-vegetarians who want to meet their health goals. Besides their nutrients, beans offer incredible health benefits. They help reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, are heart-healthy, help lower cholesterol, and promote gut health; the list goes on and on.


Moreover, beans are in accord with a sustainable environment. My friends, food that is tasty and healthy at the same time is rare. Foods like these are a favor to your body. Don’t miss these gifts of mother nature. Add them to your plate; your body and the environment will be grateful.


What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar is an avid writer who puts a lot of his emotions in words through his articles. Today, he is a certified fitness expert with a vast knowledge on nutrition and has contributed to the pages of Fabulous Body with his articles.


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