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Are Kidney Beans Good For Bodybuilding? 7 Reasons

Kidney beans belong to the legumes family and one of the most popular foods for vegans since they don't eat meat and thereby have recourse to kidney beans for their protein intake. Kidney beans are high in protein but many would consider these nutritious foods incomplete proteins. The truth is kidney beans are complete proteins but some of their amino acid profiles are so low that make it an incomplete protein in a certain sense. What many people in the bodybuilding world do is add other protein foods like chicken or beef to it to enhance the amino acid profile or many will eat beans with brown rice. Eating rice with beans make it a complete protein.

A popular dish which uses kidney beans and beef is without doubt chili con carne and this is a great meal for bodybuilders. Whatever you do, you don't necessarily need to add any other protein to your beans because don't forget you also have other meals during the day, so checking on complete or incomplete protein is not worth it. Just eat. Here are 7 reasons why kidney beans are good for bodybuilding:

High In Complex Carbohydrates

Kidney beans are loaded with complex carbohydrates which means they are slow-digesting, filling and provide sustained levels of energy. If you're exercising regularly, complex carbohydrates should be your carbs of choice and can be eaten 1.5 hours pre workout. In 400 grams of kidney beans, you get 90 grams of quality carbohydrates.

High In Protein

Kidney beans are also high in protein and is an excellent choice for vegans who are exercising. Even non-vegans get a lot of benefits from this nourishing food. If you eat a can of kidney beans drained and rinsed, that's 36 grams of protein per 400 grams. To be truthful, that's a hefty dose of protein in a single can.

High In Dietary Fiber

Your nutrition is not complete without fiber. Fiber is important to regulate proper bowel activity, prevent constipation and keep you healthy, so it's a must to have in bodybuilding where you eat a lot of chicken and meat. In 400 grams of kidney beans, that's a whopping 25 grams of dietary fiber.

Low In Fat

One of the great things about kidney beans is they are virtually fat-free and this makes them a great addition to your bodybuilding meals.

Rich In Iron

Kidney beans are great sources of iron. Iron is a mineral which is vital for creating healthy red blood cell proteins(hemoglobin) which help transport oxygen to your muscles during exercising. Having iron deficiency can trigger anemia which is a lack of red blood cells. Some symptoms of anemia include dizziness, shortness of breath, headache, pale skin, fatigue, energy loss and unusually rapid heart beat during exercise. In 400 grams of kidney beans, you get 7 mg of iron.

High In Potassium

If you're building muscle, you should know the importance of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte and after you exercise intensely, your body loses electrolytes via sweat and when this occurs, you are likely to suffer from muscle soreness, cramps and fatigue. Kidney beans are loaded with potassium and can recharge your electrolyte depletion. In 400 grams of kidney beans, you get 1,636 mg of potassium which is already about 1/3 of your daily requirement.

Rich In Magnesium

Just like potassium, magnesium is an electrolyte which helps against muscle cramps. In addition, magnesium aids sleep which is vital for bodybuilding as well as having a strong relaxing effect on muscle tissues and nerves. Kidney beans boast a great amount of magnesium, per 400 grams serving, you get 181 mg of magnesium, which is about half of your daily requirement. Apart beans, other sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, barley, bananas, lentils, kale, swiss chard, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, squash and pumpkin seeds, mackerel, avocados and dark chocolate.

As you can see, kidney beans pack a big nutritional punch with a wealthy array of nutrients and minerals. If you prefer to eat your beans fresh, don't forget to soak them overnight to fasten the cooking time, otherwise if you're using them canned, be sure to drain and rinse them to remove the water and salt or sugar if any.

Here is a simple and fast spicy kidney beans recipe to eat with rice.


3 cloves of garlic
1 medium red onion
1 tomato
1 can of red kidney beans(drained and rinsed)
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of cayenne pepper


(1) Finely chop garlic and dice onion.

(2) Dice the tomato.

(3) Heat your soup pot and add the olive oil.

(4) Add the onion and soften it a bit.

(5) Next, add the finely chopped garlic and let it cook a little bit.

(6) Now, add the diced tomatoes and mix well.

(7) Add the kidney beans and mix well.

(8) Add the remaining ingredients ie salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper and stir well.

(9) Add one cup of water and bring to a boil.

(10) Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes on low heat.

(11) Your kidney beans meal is ready to be served with steamed rice.

For more bodybuilding recipes, I highly recommend Anabolic Cooking which is the ultimate guide for bodybuilding nutrition.

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