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Cannellini Beans: The Nutritious White Kidney Beans

Cannellini beans, well known as white kidney beans, are popular in Italian cuisine, particularly Tuscan dishes. They are creamy-white, with a puffy texture and a little bitter, mild flavour when cooked. When uncooked, cannellini beans are kidney-shaped and have a robust seed coat. These beans grow best in well-draining clay loam with plenty of moisture and humus. It is a quick crop that requires 75-90 days from seedling to harvest. You can buy dried and ready-to-rehydrate cannellini beans or those in a can with fluids. Look for no or minimum salt or other added ingredients when choosing canned cannellini beans.  

Besides being an Italian cuisine staple, the cannellini bean is an excellent vegetarian source of protein, fibre and micronutrients. These white beans show anti-inflammatory properties, too. Furthermore, it is a nutritious bean comprising a mix of vitamins, including small amounts of vitamin E, K, and B. 

Cannellini beans belong to the Phaseolus vulgaris classification of beans, including navy beans and green beans. Nutritionally, they provide high protein and fibre content without overloading your meal with calories. The protein in these beans provides 18% of the daily value of a 2,000-calorie diet. Cannellini beans are a versatile ingredient easily incorporated into your stews, soups, salads, and purées or eaten as a side dish.

Cannellini beans are another name for the Italian kidney beans, northern beans or fasolia beans. Most of the time, cannellini beans are available as dried or pre-cooked in cans. Typically dried beans will last up to a year, and canned beans will last 2-3 years. 

Nutritional Profile of Cannellini Beans

As per USDA, around 100 grams of cannellini beans serving contains the following nutrients:

Calories: 85 kcalProtein: 6.15 gFat: 0 gCarbohydrate: 14.62 gFibre: 3.8 gCalcium: 46 mgIron: 2.77 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Cannellini Beans are rich in complex fibre and laden with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. In addition, the beans have a low-fat percentage, making them a naturally low-fat food source. However, it is best to consume them in moderation.

Health Benefits of Cannellini Beans

Help You Lose Weight

Beans, irrespective of their type, are well-known for their role in weight loss. One reason is that they act as alpha-amylase inhibitors to stop your body from absorbing carbohydrates quickly by blocking the digestive enzymes. 

A study shows that supplementation with cannellini bean extract significantly reduces body weight. The results conclude that cannellini bean extract aids weight loss, inducing potentially meaningful body weight reductions in the short and medium-term. Moreover, cannellini beans have a low-calorie level and also increase satiety. Therefore, it makes these beans a great addition to weight loss diets. 

Full of Plant Protein

Cannellini beans have a high protein level and can help you meet your daily protein requirements. Protein is vital for various reasons, including supporting healthy muscles and maintaining good hair, nails, and skin. A half-cup serving of cannellini beans provides you with 8 grams of protein. 

Protect from Skin Damage

Antioxidants in cannellini beans protect against oxidative stress. Moreover, it is rich in phenols, the plant compounds possessing anti-inflammatory properties. It helps fight inflammatory damage to your skin. In addition, the ferulic acid in cannellini beans helps prevent sun damage. A study shows that combining ferulic acid with vitamins C and E protects against photoaging and skin cancer. Therefore, you can pair cannellini beans with other dietary foods rich in vitamins C and E to reap maximum benefits for your skin health. 

Help Fight Cancer

Cannellini beans belong to the class of Phaseolus vulgaris. And studies show that the bean variants of Phaseolus Vulgaris contain a wide variety of polyphenolic compounds that decrease the risks of chronic degenerative diseases. The high level of antioxidants makes cannellini beans potential cancer-fighting foods. Moreover, the ferulic acid in cannellini bean extracts can help treat hepatocellular carcinoma. 

Healthy Replacement for Shortening

Cannellini beans are a meat replacement for people on an entirely plant-based diet. Furthermore, you can use it as a shortening substitute in baking. A study shows that pureed cannellini beans can replace as much as 50% of brownies’ shortening (by weight). As a result, you receive a more nutritious product. 

Possible Side Effects of Cannellini Beans

Amylase inhibitors in these beans can cause blood sugar levels to drop drastically. Therefore, the white bean extract supplements are undesirable for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia. Before adding any medicines to the diet, anyone with a persistent health problem should contact a healthcare expert.

Lectins

Lectins are proteins that attach to carbohydrates and recognise specific cells and proteins. Various types of lectins are present in common bean varieties, and they are responsible for a variety of harmful effects. The ability of lectins to bind carbohydrates is one of the reasons for their toxicity. In addition, lectins can adhere to the gut lining and prevent digestive enzymes from working correctly. Because lectins make up around 15% of a cannellini bean’s protein, they can cause a variety of problems in lectin-sensitive people, including:

Leaky gutSensitivity to some food ingredients Slow nutrient digestion and absorption 

Phytohemagglutinin

Phytohemagglutinin is the most critical bean lectin for human health. This is found in the highest quantity in red kidney beans, with white kidney beans having about a third of that amount. Phytohemagglutinin poisoning is rather prevalent, and the following symptoms can occur:

NauseaVomitingDiarrhoeastomach acheInflammation of the bowelReduced intestinal nutrient absorption and liver function are impaired.

When the beans are soaked and cooked correctly, phytohemagglutinin gets broken down. Therefore, to avoid poisoning, avoid eating raw cannellini beans.

Because of the enhanced fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in the large intestine, white kidney bean extract cause the following symptoms when taken for weight loss and blood sugar control:

GasDiarrhoeaBloatingConstipation

The symptoms are usually minor and go away after stopping the medication. 

The HealthifyMe Note

The side effects are usually moderate and similar to those experienced with increasing fibre consumption suddenly. However, gas and diarrhoea might occur due to the high fibre in cannellini beans. There have also been reports of discomfort and bloating. 

Healthy Recipes using Cannellini Beans

Cannellini Soup

Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Serving: 6

1 Cup: 250 ml/250 g

Ingredients

Olive Oil: 1 tbspOnion, chopped: 1Garlic Cloves, minced: 3Carrots, chopped: 2-3Celery Rib chopped: 2-3Vegetable Broth: 6 cupsDried Thyme: 1 tspOregano: ½ tspSalt: 1 tspBlack Pepper: ½ tspCannellini Beans drained and rinsed: 1 cup.Baby Spinach: 2 cupsFresh parsley, finely chopped: For servingGrated Parmesan Cheese: For serving

Method of Preparation

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until transparent, about 3-5 minutes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes after adding the garlic, celery, carrot, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.Bring the beans and vegetable broth to a boil, then reduce to low heat and boil for 15 minutes to integrate all flavours.Add in the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.Remove from the fire, top with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, and serve immediately.

Cannellini Beans on Toast

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients

Onion, grated: 1Olive Oil: 2 tbspHot Smoked Paprika: 1 tsp Cannellini Beans rinsed and drained: 400 gFlat-leaf parsley, chopped: 20 gSourdough Bread or Whole Grain Bread: 4 slicesClove Garlic, halved: 1

Method of Preparation

For a few minutes, cook the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook for a minute after adding the smoked paprika. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the beans and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the parsley and mix well.Toast the bread until light brown from both sides.Serve with a side of beans.

Cannellini Beans Salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

Cannellini Beans drained but not rinsed: 400 g Onion, chopped: 2 tbspLemon Juice: 1 tbspExtra Virgin Olive Oil: 1 tbspFinely chopped Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme, dry: ½ tspSalt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method of Preparation

Chop the onions.Squeeze some lemon juice over it and then set it aside.Add olive oil, salt and pepper to the beans and mix well.Once done, add the onions and lemon juice mix to it.Top it up with rosemary, lavender and thyme and stir once again.Chill it a few hours first, or you can serve it straight away.

Preparation and Storage Tips 

You should pre-soak the beans while using dried cannellini beans for cooking. Start by pre-soaking the beans in a large bowl for about 12 hours. Make sure there is lots of room in your bowl for the beans to expand without overflowing. It ensures that the beans’ nutrients are easily accessible and make them more digestible. You might experience gastronomic distress if you skip the soaking step. If you use canned beans, pour the contents into a colander and rinse thoroughly.

If you don’t have the time for an overnight soak, place the beans in a pan with four times the amount of water. Boil it and then simmer for 10 minutes. After that, allow the beans to sit in the water for one hour. However, you get the best, creamy cannellini by soaking overnight.

Store the cannellini beans in a cool, dry place, away from dampness or sunlight. Keep unused portions of canned beans or leftover soaked beans in the refrigerator for three days.

Conclusion

Cannellini Beans offer a valuable source of several nutrients, including antioxidants. These beans are full of protein and fibre and have relatively fewer calories. They’re a great way to get more nutrients into your diet and are suitable for everyone. Cannellini beans are the best protein option for vegetarians and vegans and a convenient alternative for non-vegetarian proteins. While this is a fantastic alternative, eating too many beans can cause nausea, bloating, and gastric discomfort. You can eat cannellini beans daily, but only in moderate amounts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Why are cannellini beans good for you?

A. Cannellini beans have several elements that aid in weight loss and skin health. Among them are soluble fibre, niacin (commonly known as Vitamin B3), and Vitamin B5. Cannellini beans also comprise saponins, a flavonoid that binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract, lowering the risk of heart disease. In addition, cannellini beans include soluble fibre, which helps manage blood sugar levels, making them a good diet for people with metabolic disorders and diabetes.

Q. Are cannellini beans healthier than kidney beans?

A. Regarding nutritional value, kidney beans have 25% more dietary fibre than cannellini beans. However, there isn’t much of a distinction between the two. Cannellini beans have more riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folate. However, kidney beans contain more niacin.

Q. Are cannellini beans good for weight loss?

A. Cannellini beans are low in calories and high in fibre, making them an excellent weight-loss food. You can easily add them into any diet, including those who are trying to lose weight or concerned about gaining muscle.

Q. Are cannellini beans easy to digest?

A. Cooked and pre-soaked cannellini beans are very simple to digest. They’re pretty creamy as well. However, it will be best if you soak the cannellini overnight. For example, soak 1 cup of cannellini beans in 4 cups of water for 12 hours in a big basin or saucepan. This procedure is necessary to make the beans’ nutrients more accessible and digestible.

Q. Do cannellini beans cause gas?

A. Because of their fibre content, cannellini beans can cause gas. Eating too many beans can cause gastrointestinal upset to some extent. However, you can avoid such cases if you eat it after soaking it overnight. 

Q. Are cannellini beans as good for you as chickpeas?

A. Chickpeas and cannellini beans are both high in dietary fibre. However, chickpeas have 58% higher dietary fibre than cannellini beans. But cannellini beans have 15 times less sugar than chickpeas. So for macronutrient ratios, chickpeas are lighter in protein and carbs. 

Q. Are cannellini beans the same as white beans?

A. Cannellini beans are one of the white bean varieties. Cannellini beans are the biggest group and are also known as White Kidney Beans due to their classic kidney shape. They have a nuttier, earthier flavour and delicate meat than Great Northern or Navy beans. They’re great in salads, stews, soups and chilli since they keep their form and texture.

Q. Are cannellini beans carbs or protein?

A. Cannellini beans belong to the complex carbohydrate category. Cannellini beans have a low-calorie count and are high in protein and fibre. Therefore, they contain both carbohydrates and protein. 

Q. Are cannellini beans keto?

A. Cannellini Beans are not keto by nature. These beans have a net carb content of 14.62 g per 100g serving. Therefore, while these beans contain a lot of protein, they do not work for a keto diet. However, you can choose either green beans or black soybeans on a strict keto diet.

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