Key Nutrients

Beans are important sources of these key nutrients:

Folate
Is needed for formation of red blood cells. This vitamin plays a crucial role in the development of the nervous system of the embryo early in pregnancy. Inadequate intake is linked to serious birth defects. As an example of what beans can offer, a half-cup serving of kidney beans delivers 141mcg of folate [3].

Magnesium
Is important in energy production and in the synthesis of bones. More than 300 metabolic reactions in the body require this mineral. A half-cup serving of navy beans delivers 48mg of magnesium, which is over 10% of the RDI [3, 4].

Potassium
Helps to regulate fluid balance in the body and is important in maintaining healthful blood pressure levels. It is also linked to improved bone health. A one-half cup serving of lima beans, for example, can deliver 478mg of potassium [3].

Iron
Is a component of red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a common problem in developing countries, and often falls short in the diets of low-income Americans. Inadequate iron intake can lead to anemia and poor immune function. A one-half cup serving of cooked red kidney
beans provides 2.60 mg of iron [3].

Amounts of selected nutrients in 1/2 cup servings of different types of beans

Food   Protein (grams)      Folate (micrograms) Magnesium (milligrams) Potassium (milligrams)

Iron (milligrams)

 

RD12 50 400 400 3500 18
Black Beans 7.6 (8.1) 3 128 (32.0) 60 (15.0) 305 (8.7) 1.8 (10.0)
Chickpeas 7.2 (9.8) 141 (35.2) 39 (9.8) 239 (6.8) 2.4 (13.3)
Kidney Beans 7.7 (10.5) 115 (28.8) 40 (10.0) 357 (10.2) 2.6 (14.4)
Lima Beans 7.3 (10.8) 78 (19.5) 40 (10.0) 478 (13.6) 2.2 (12.2)
Pinto Beans 7.7 (9.5) 147 (36.8) 43 (10.8) 373 (10.7) 1.8 (10.0)

  1. Source: USDA Nutrient Database (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/)
  2. Reference Daily Intake
  3. Numbers in parentheses represent percent RDI (most commonly known as pecent Daily Value). Values for beans corrected for protein quality (PDCAAS).
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