Posted on March 14, 2019 by Emily Forbes

This week’s blog comes to you courtesy of a member’s suggestion (thank you, Lee). It’s all about beans. I took the time to investigate our favourite beans and compared their nutritional contents.  Beans are a great source of protein, especially for non-meat eaters. They also have high fibre levels, B-vitamins as well as other nutrients essential to health. Because of their nutrient density, these little powerhouses can help reduce blood sugar levels and are important for the control of diabetes. They can also improve cholesterol, maintain gut health and may help reduce some cancer risks.

All comparisons are per cup measurement.

Mung beans:

  • Calories: 212
  • Protein: 14.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 38.7g
  • Fat: 0.8g
  • Fibre: 15.4g
  • Folate: 321 mcg; 80% RDI

Kidney beans:

  • Calories: 225
  • Protein: 15.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 40.4g
  • Fat: 0.9g
  • Fibre: 11.3g
  • Vitamin K: 14.9mcg; 19% RDI
  • Iron: 3.9mg; 22% RDI

Butter beans (Lima):

  • Calories: 209
  • Protein: 11.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 40.2g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Fibre: 9.0g
  • Vitamin C: 17.2mg; 29% RDI
  • Iron: 4.2mg 23% RDI
  • Magnesium: 126mg; 31% RDI
  • Potassium: 969mg; 28% RDI

Berlotti beans (Cranberry);

  • Calories: 241
  • Protein: 16.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 43.3g
  • Fat: 0.8g
  • Fibre: 17.7g
  • Folate: 366mcg; 92% RDI
  • Thiamine (Vit. B1): 0.4mg; 25% RDI
  • Calcium: 88.5mg; 9% RDI

Haricot beans (Navy): The humble baked bean

  • Calories: 255
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbohydrate: 47.8g
  • Fat: 1.1g
  • Fibre: 19.1g
  • Iron: 4.3mg; 24% RDI
  • Calcium 126mg; 13%

Black beans:

  • Calories: 227
  • Protein: 15.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 40.8g
  • Fat: 0.9g
  • Fibre: 15.0g
  • Iron: 3.6mg;  20% RDI
  • Magnesium: 120mg; 30% RDI


Edamame beans are immature soybeans and have relatively similar nutrition content.

  • Calories: 298
  • Protein: 28.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 17.g
  • Fat: 0.8g
  • Fibre: 15.4g
  • Vitamin K: 33.0mg; 41%
  • Riboflavin (Vit. B2): 0.5mg; 29% RDI
  • Vitamin B6; 0.4g; 20% RDI
  • Calcium: 175mg; 18% RDI
  • Iron: 8.8mg; 49% RDI
  • Selenium: 12.6mcg; 18% RDI

Other information:

  • The RDI for fibre is 30g per day which can help boost digestive health and reduce related cancers. On average, women in the UK are only eating 17.2g per day and men 20.1g. Start adding beans to salads and stews to help boost your intake.
  • Folate (folic acid) is a super essential nutrient for women trying to conceive or who are pregnant to help reduce birth defects. It is most important in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (when many women don’t know they are actually pregnant). Eat your beans to keep levels high.
  • B vitamins help to support energy levels, brain function and cell metabolism. They are water soluble so are easily depleted from the body and foods containing them should be consumed regularly.
  • Vitamin K plays a role in bone health and wound healing.
  • Iron is needed to prevent anemia, which can lead to tiredness and fatigue and is also needed for efficient immune function.

With relatively similar calorie, protein, carbohydrate and fat contents there isn’t one bean which is superior, except for the soybeans which have the highest protein content. Eat a variety of beans to get a wide range of nutrients they all provide. They are also super cheap and more eco-friendly than eating meat, so perhaps swap a meat day for only beans to do your bit for the environment. Because of the high-fibre content, beans can be very gas producing. Reduce this effect by slowly increasing the amount of beans added to your diet and increasing water consumption.

At Motive8, we’re a big fan of beans. Check out our bean food blogs here.

Beans beans good for the heart.

Emily x