Health Benefits of Rajma- Why You Should Add Them To Your Diet!

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“Rajma is not just a food, but an emotion,” some would say. Also known as red kidney bean globally, it is a highly nutritious food packed with proteins, fibres, minerals and other nutrients. This dynamic food is a favourite among North Indians in particular and goes with various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes depending on the region. Punjabis swear by rajma-chawal while the same is popular among the Nagas as a thick stew made with various smoked meat. Rajma is nutritious, and delicious and goes well with a wide range of palates, and this applies not just to India but the rest of the world. 

Quick History

health benefits of rajma

A little fun trivia; Rajma is not of Indian origin. Yes, this food item that we dearly love and call our own was first grown in Mexico and is believed to be introduced either by the French or the Portuguese sometime during the late 1800s. This might raise eyebrows among the Punjabi folks who are rightfully credited for their popularity in the Indian subcontinent although almost every state within India had its variation to prepare this item. Heated debates may ensue over the authenticity and the origin of the food item since many other countries have their versions of this wildly popular legume. What this indicates is its immense popularity and how it has fed millions of people across the globe and provided them with all the nutrition they need.

Nutritional Profile

rajma curry- health benefits of rajma

Rajma is categorised as a legume which is an inexpensive and a very good source of protein. It is considered to be a good replacement for meat either for vegetarians or those who want to cut down on meat but maintain their nutritional intake. 

A quick table to describe the nutritional content of boiled rajma

NutrientPer 100 gm
Complex Carbohydrate22.8 gm
Protein8.67 gm
Fibre7.4 gm
Fat0.5 gm
Calcium28 mg
Iron2.94 mg
Magnesium45 mg
Phosphorous142 mg
Potasium403 mg
Sodium2 mg
Zinc2.79 mg
Vitamin C1.2 mg
Water66.9 gm

Rajma is also found to have anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is also fortified with bioactive compounds such as isoflavones – which helps in the regulation of hot flashes, manages the menstrual cycle, and prevents the risk of breast cancer; anthocyanins – red kidney bean packed with anthocyanin pelargonidin which helps in minimising the risk of heart disease. 

Red kidney beans also contain antinutrients that lower the nutritional value of the food. This includes phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, and starch blockers. A simple remedy to counter this is by soaking them or cooking them well.

Point to be considered, there are many variants of red kidney beans available in the market depending on the region it is grown. Based on these factors, its nutritional content may vary to some extent. 

You may also like our article on Health Benefits of Matta Rice

Health Benefits of Rajma

health benefits of rajma with chawal

Now that we already know that the good old rajma is not just delicious but also packed with various nutrients that help you to stay healthy and keep diseases at bay. Let’s look at some of the health benefits it offers.

Good Source of Protein

Rajma is an excellent source of plant-based protein which is important in building your muscle tissues. Raw rajma has 22.5 gm of protein per 100 gm, while boiled rajma has 8.67 gm of protein per 100 gm. That being said, it is not a complete protein as it lacks certain amino acids.

High Fibre Content

High fibre content in rajma helps in improving bowel movement and improve digestion. The soluble fibre helps in processing food faster and more effectively. That being said, excessive consumption of rajma may create bloating and flatulence in certain individuals.

Lowers The Risk Of Heart Ailments

The dietary fibre in rajma helps in the absorption of bad cholesterols which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. It is also a good source of potassium which dilates blood vessels and minimises the chances of blood pressure.

Regulates Blood Sugar

Polysaccharide present in kidney beans is known to reduce the effects of Type 2 diabetes in mice. It is also known to protect the functions of the kidney, pancreas and liver in diabetic mice.

Boosts Energy Levels

Rajma is also a source of iron which helps in the production of haemoglobin. This, in turn, transports oxygen to the cells in the body which can help in boosting energy levels.

Helps In Weight Loss

Rajma has low levels of fats and calories and is packed with fibre and protein, which keeps one satiated and aids in losing weight.

May Prevent Cancer

Rajma is also a powerhouse of antioxidants that help in battling cancer. It also has flavonoids which help in preventing the formation of cancer cells. 

Strengthens Bones

Rajma is a treasure trove of minerals such as calcium and magnesium which helps in preventing osteoporosis and strengthening the bones. 

Good for Eyes

Rajma contains zinc which helps in the production of Vitamin A, which is essential for keeping the eye healthy and useful in treating night blindness.

Immunity Booster

Being rich in minerals such as magnesium, iron, and manganese, it boosts the immune system and protects the body from various diseases. 

Undesired Effects of Rajma

While rajma is a highly nutritious food item, it has certain side effects that occur in increasingly rare cases.

  • It should not be consumed raw since it may have a toxic effect on humans. Rajma should always be cooked properly before it is consumed. This is because rajma contains lectins that can clump together RBCs and also interfere with nutrient absorption from the intestines.
  • While rajma can help in weight reduction, having it in excess may be counterproductive since it has high levels of proteins and fibres. It takes more time to break down. Hence, rajma is meant to be had in small quantities only.
  • Although rajma help in improving one’s bowel movement, excess consumption might lead to stomach pain, indigestion, and even diarrhoea.

To be fair, eating anything in excess can never be good despite having an excellent nutritional profile. Always eat in moderation.

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