Rajma (Kidney Beans): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

September 15th, 2022


Rajma is large with dark red in colour and due to the unique shape of a kidney, they are also called kidney beans.  They take a long time to cook and are usually used to cook soups as they have a firm texture and hold up well.1 Beans belong to the family Fabaceae, which also includes legumes and kidney beans are one of the most important legume crops grown in the world because of their nutrient content. 2 

The scientific name of rajma is Phaseolus vulgaris L. it is also known as common bean, French bean and snap bean. In India, it is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Himachal Pradesh (HP), Maharashtra and North-eastern states. However, it originated from Central America and South Mexico.3  

Nutritional Value of Rajma: 

Rajma contains total energy of 337 kcal.4  The nutrients present in it are as follows: 

Nutrient  Percentage content 
Water  11.8 
Protein  22.5 
Carbohydrates  61.3 
Sugars  2.1 
Total lipid (fat)  1.06 

Table 1: nutrient content of rajma (kidney beans)4 

The vitamins and minerals present in rajma are as follows: 

Minerals  Vitamins 
Manganese  Vitamin B1 
Copper  Vitamin B2 
Magnesium  Vitamin B3 
Iron  Vitamin B5 
Zinc  Vitamin B6 
Selenium  Vitamin C 
Phosphorous  Vitamin E 
Potassium  Folate 

Table 2: vitamins and minerals present in rajma (kidney beans)4 

Properties of Rajma: 

Rajma might possess the following properties: 

  • It might help lower the blood sugar levels 
  • It might help lower the risk of heart diseases 
  • It might be good for the stomach 
  • It might help in the weight management 

It might help lower the bad cholesterol in the blood1 

Potential Uses of Rajma for Overall Health: 

Kidney beans might be of potential use to human health in the following ways 

1. Potential uses of rajma for diabetes  

In recent studies, it was seen that regular consumption of kidney beans might help lower blood sugar levels and when people with type-2 diabetes followed the high-legume diet for 3 months, their overall blood sugar is reduced. It might also lead to a decreased risk of heart diseases and consuming rajma might be helpful for diabetes. However, a serious condition like diabetes must be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor and do not self-medicate.1 

SEE ALSO:   Medicine Hacks For People With Heart Disease

2. Potential uses of rajma for heart diseases 

Multiple studies have shown that beans might have the potential to lower the risk of heart diseases when consumed regularly. This might be due to the possible effect of lowering low-density lipoproteins (LDL, also known as bad cholesterol) and other risk factors that might cause heart diseases. One of the studies also hypothesised that cooked beans might even have the potential to lower the risk of a nonfatal heart attack.  However, these possible effects of rajma need to be find out by more research and ensure that you consult a doctor for heart diseases.1 

3. Potential uses of rajma for weight management  

A survey conducted by the National Health Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2002 showed that lower body weight, lower waist circumference and lower systolic blood pressure were seen in people who consumed beans regularly.  In another study, it was seen that regular consumption of beans and rice might be associated with a lower body mass index. Eating beans might make a satisfying feel due to the high fibre and protein content. This might contribute to weight management and more research is required on this subject.1 

4. Potential uses of rajma for cancer  

Kidney beans contain various phytochemicals such as flavonoids, tannins, phenolic compounds and other antioxidants. Thereby, these compounds might have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic conditions. A few researchers have also hypothesised that rajma might help to reduce the risk of cancer when it is consumed along with other compounds that are rich in antioxidants. However, such claims need to be proved by further research. Moreover, cancer is a serious condition and must be diagnosed and treated properly by a doctor. Kindly consult a doctor for the treatment of cancer.1 

SEE ALSO:   Benefits of Kapalbhati and How to Do It By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Though there are studies that show the benefits of rajma in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of rajma on human health.  

How to Use Rajma? 

You must cook the rajma before eating it. Before cooking it, you must follow the following steps: 

  • Firstly, inspect the beans and remove any broken pieces and any other particles that you may find. 
  • Then, rinse the beans in cold water thoroughly. 
  • Then soak the beans in water, you can use the traditional method of soaking in which you place the beans in water overnight. Hot soak is the preferred method in which you need to add a lot of water to the washed beans and heat them.  Allow the water to boil for a couple of minutes before letting it off the heat. Then cover it with a lid and let it soak for 24 hrs.  
  • Wash the beans with fresh cold water and use it for cooking.1 

Rajma can be used in preparing a variety of dishes like: 

  • Soups 
  • Dips and spreads 
  • Main dishes like making curries, burgers, etc. 
  • Side dishes like salads 
  • Pastas 
  • Baking1 

You can find various recipes or can create a dish on your own.  

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking rajma in large quantities. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Rajma: 

 In animals, raw rajma might cause various effects like reduced food intake, and depressed growth and it might also cause death. Similarly, kidney beans might have a toxic effect on humans when they are consumed raw or when they are improperly cooked. Although the exact mechanism is not known and requires further research, it is hypothesised that improperly cooked kidney beans might cause multiple-organ dysfunction.5 

SEE ALSO:   9 Health Benefits of Onions

Precautions to Take with Rajma:  

Rajma might be a good source of nutrients for children.1 However, they need to be properly cooked before eating.  

There is insufficient data regarding the effect of kidney beans on pregnant and breastfeeding women. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before eating them. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is not enough data about the interaction of rajma with other drugs. However, if you are taking medication for any health condition, you need to consult your doctor and avoid using herbal supplements without consulting your doctor. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are the benefits of rajma? 

Rajma might help in reducing diabetes, controlling heart diseases, weight management and fighting against cancer. These potential effects need to be confirmed by further research and you should consult a doctor for health-related issues.1  

2) Is rajma good for weight loss? 

Rajma might be helpful in weight management due to the presence of protein and fibre content.  It was also seen in various studies that a diet containing beans might help with a lower body mass index. However, more research is required to prove these claims.1  

3) Are there any side effects of eating rajma? 

Raw or undercooked kidney beans might have toxic effects on humans and may cause multiple organ dysfunction. However, more research is required to ascertain these possible toxic effects of rajma on humans. Kindly consult your doctor for advice before use.5 

4) What are the rajma benefits for skin? 

No reports are claiming the beneficial effects of kidney beans on the skin. More studies are required on this subject. 

5) What are the benefits of kidney beans for diabetes? 

Kidney beans might be helpful for diabetes and several studies have shown that kidney beans might have a potential blood sugar lowering effects. However, such effects need to be further studied. Ensure that you consult your doctor for proper diagnosis of a serious condition like diabetes and do not self-medicate.1 


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