Is Cranberry Bean Good for You?

Zoomi Singh

March 29, 2023

Cranberry Beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) are legumes with high nutritional content and a long list of health advantages. They’ve been cultivated for years worldwide and are increasing in popularity. They stand out among other beans because of their high protein content, which is the highest of any plant-based food. 

Cranberry Bean: An Introduction

Cranberry beans are a legume with a high nutritional profile. As a result, cranberries are versatile beans that help make various healthy dishes. Cranberry beans are soft and thick and have a silky-creamy feel. The thin skin of the beans helps create a rich bean broth, which is perfect for Pasta e Fagioli (pasta fazool).

This bean works well in chilis, baked beans, soups, and a full bean bowl with a few toppings. In addition, they produce excellent refried beans due to their creamy texture.

Cranberry beans also contain a high amount of vitamin B complex, which they are highly known for. They’re also high in antioxidants, minerals, and dietary fibre.

Also, this is the reason why these beans are so beneficial to your health. Cranberry beans are sweet and mild flavoured like many other types of beans. They have a sturdy texture that can be used alone or in combination with other foods. 

The HealthifyMe Note

People cultivated the cranberry bean in Colombia as the cargamanto beans. Other names for the cranberry bean include roman bean, borlotti bean, saluggia bean, gadhra bean, and rosecoco bean. Later, people cultivated this Colombian bean worldwide to produce Madeira, Borlotti, Wren’s Egg, and other varieties. They are well-known because of their beautiful swirling red and brown colour. 

Nutritional Properties of Cranberry Bean

As per USDA, 100 grams of cranberry bean contains the following nutritional values.

  • Energy: 136 kcal
  • Water: 64.6 g
  • Protein: 9.34 g
  • Total lipid (fat): 0.46 g
  • Carbohydrate: 24.5 g
  • Fibre, total dietary: 8.6 g

Vitamins and Minerals

Various vitamins and minerals are present:

  • Calcium: 50 mg
  • Iron: 2.09 mg
  • Magnesium: 50 mg
  • Phosphorus: 135 mg
  • Potassium: 387 mg
  • Zinc: 1.14 mg
  • Selenium: 1.3 µg
  • Thiamin: 0.21 mg
  • Folate, total: 207 µg

Nutrition Facts

A 1-cup serving of cranberry beans provides about 24.5 grams of complex carbohydrates. However, most of the carbohydrates in these beans are starch and dietary fibre. Dietary fibre stimulates satiety, lowers cholesterol, lowers heart disease risk, and improves gut health. Carbohydrates in the form of starch provide instant energy to the body.

A glycemic index for cranberry beans is not available in the Glycemic Database. However, boiling dry beans have a glycemic index of 37 and a glycemic load of 11, indicating that they are a low-glycemic food. A glycemic load helps to analyse food’s effect on blood sugar levels.

Cranberry beans are low-fat by nature. In addition, cranberry beans have 9.34 grams of protein per serving, slightly more than kidney beans or pinto beans.

Cranberry beans are nutrient-dense. A 1-cup serving of cranberry beans provides 52 per cent of your daily recommended folate intake. Folate aids red blood cell production, DNA formation, and the prevention of specific congenital disabilities. Cranberries also contain thiamine, which is necessary to convert food into energy and maintain proper brain functioning.

You’ll also get manganese, a nutrient that aids bone formation, cholesterol metabolism, nervous system health, and brain function. Cranberry beans have iron, vital for forming red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body. Magnesium is necessary for energy production and blood sugar control. Potassium helps counteract the effects of sodium on your blood pressure. Copper is essential for maintaining the health of your blood vessels and nerves. Furthermore, cranberries contain calcium, vitamin B6, zinc for cell division and wound healing. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Cranberry beans are high in nutrients, including thiamin, which helps our bodies convert food into energy, magnesium and phosphorus, which aid DNA formation, and manganese, a powerful antioxidant. Moreover, cranberry beans are high in phytonutrients that lessen the risk of chronic diseases, including cancer. Furthermore, cranberry beans have a heart-healthy protein since they contain no cholesterol and only tiny quantities of sodium.

Health Benefits of Cranberry Beans

Improve Body’s Performance

Each serving of cranberry beans contains about half of your daily protein requirement (9.34g). This nutrient is necessary to form tissues and muscles in the body. Also, it contributes to the production of all the substances needed for the body to function correctly, including cells, hormones, and enzymes.

Vitamins B1, B2, and B3 play an important role in metabolism, converting the energy of nutrients into body energy. Furthermore, vitamins B3 and B5 aid in the formation of DNA, RNA, and nerve fibres.

Promotes Blood Circulation

According to a study, cranberry beans are high in copper and iron, which help red blood cell development. However, iron and copper are the primary minerals responsible for forming blood cells and delivering oxygen to the body. Vitamins B6 and folate also play a role in this process.

Helps in Weight Management

Cranberry beans have a low-calorie content, with only 335 calories per 100 gm. Simultaneously, they have a high carbohydrate and fibre content. As a result, cranberry beans are suitable for a weight-loss diet and maintaining a healthy weight. 

Several studies show that increasing dietary fibre consumption decreases energy absorption by diluting a diet’s energy availability while maintaining other essential nutrients. Furthermore, a high-fibre diet keeps you satiated for extended periods, which helps you lose weight.

Improves Heart Health and Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases

Dietary fibre is vital for decreasing bad cholesterol and protecting your heart. For example, studies show that cranberry beans are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements that, when combined with omega-3 fatty acids, help to maintain cardiovascular health. 

Potassium aids in the balance of body fluids and even counteracts the effects of sodium. Potassium also helps to relax blood vessels and promote blood flow by lowering blood vessel stiffness and contraction, relieving the cardiovascular system of stress.

Aids in Digestion

Cranberry bean is an ideal source of dietary fibre. It helps improve bowel movements by absorbing water in the intestines and softening the stool. Thus, resulting in a smooth passing out of the stool.

In addition, research suggests that dietary fibre intake increases the frequency of passing stool in patients with constipation. Dietary fibre provides bulk to the stool and aids in its removal from the body. Fibre also aids with issues like diarrhoea. 

Prevent Diabetes

A study shows the impact of high-fibre diets on mortality, glycemic management, and other cardiometabolic risk factors in persons with prediabetes or diabetes.

The dietary fibre in these beans has a low glycemic index of 35, which means that carbohydrates are broken down into sugar slower, preventing insulin spikes after meals. As a result, people with diabetes can use cranberry beans to control their blood sugar levels.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The high content of valuable nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals, promotes overall health and immune system strength. For instance, the B-complex vitamins and folate are critical for the body’s cell synthesis. Moreover, according to recent studies, selenium and antioxidants found in beans can inhibit the formation of cancer cells.

Improves and Protects Brain Health

Studies show that one of the components of the vitamin B complex found in beans is pyridoxine. Pyridoxine interacts with neural receptors in the brain to manage your mood and mental wellness in general.

Cranberry beans also aid in the treatment of other ailments such as headaches, stress, and irritability. Furthermore, vitamin B3 (Niacin) contributes to energy creation, mental health, and nervous system functioning.

Beneficial for Pregnant Women

Cranberry beans have a high folate level of 100g, providing 147 per cent of the required daily value of this vitamin. Moreover, studies suggest that the foetus’ creation of DNA, RNA, blood cells, and specific amino acids depend on these vitamins. Thus, pregnant women should consume these beans to avoid folic acid deficiency, which can cause birth abnormalities.

Great for Gaining Muscle

The cranberry bean is high in protein, a vital ingredient that aids in forming body tissues and muscle growth. Also, it is a high-quality protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids. Borlotti beans include 9.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, and research shows the relation between the consumption of beans with muscle gain.

The HealthifyMe Note

Overall, beans are a rich source of plant-based protein and are high in fibre, which has numerous health advantages. Furthermore, a high-fibre diet keeps you satiated for extended periods, which may aid weight loss. Cranberries also contain phosphorus, which is necessary for cell membrane and DNA synthesis. Pregnant women should consume these beans to avoid folic acid deficiency, which can result in congenital anomalies. 

Homemade Recipes for Cranberry Beans

Cranberry Bean Masala (Gravy)

Serves: 12 servings

Preparation time: 8 hr 20 min

Cook Time: 1 hr 2 min


For Masala

  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Onion: 1½ cups – chopped
  • Tomatoes: 1½ cups – chopped
  • Garlic: 5 cloves
  • Ginger: ½-inch piece
  • Green chilly: 2

For Gravy

  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Cloves: 2
  • Cinnamon: a small piece
  • Turmeric: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste
  • Chilly powder: ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp
  • Cranberry beans: 16 oz packet (soaked overnight)
  • tomato paste: 1 tbsp
  • Chana masala: 1 tsp
  • Cilantro: to garnish

Method of Preparation

  • Soak beans overnight and cook. To cook the beans, use a pressure cooker.
  • Coarsely mash roughly a cup of cooked beans.
  • In a skillet, combine the masala ingredients and onion. Simmer until the onions are tender.
  • For gravy, heat oil and add cloves and cinnamon. 
  • Add prepared masala, salt, turmeric, chilly powder, coriander powder, cooked beans, mashed beans, tomato paste, channa masala and about 2 – 3 cups of water.
  • Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the gravy reaches the desired consistency, then remove from the heat. 
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Cranberry Bean Soup

Serves: 2-3 servings

Preparation time: 20 min


  • Take one cup of white beans, such as navy, cannellini, or great northern, soaked for a few hours, covered with water, and cooked for about 30-45 minutes until tender.
  • Cranberries: 1½ cups
  • Carrots sliced: 2 (medium)
  • Curry powder: 2 tsp
  • Ground ginger: 1 tsp
  • Sugar: ¼ cup 
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Cilantro or spring onions for garnish

Method of Preparation

  • Put the carrots and cranberries in a saucepan. Add 3 cups of water and boil. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat or until carrots get cooked.
  • Blend the carrots and cranberries in a blender until smooth. When blending hot liquids, exercise extreme caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Return to the saucepan with the carrot-cranberry mixture. Combine the ginger powder, curry powder, black pepper, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Bring the water back to a boil, then add the drained beans. Store the bean broth to thin out the soup, if required.
  • Once the soup boils, lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes. 
  • Finish with coriander leaves, spring onions, or both to garnish the soup. Serve it hot.

Storage and Food Safety

You can store dry beans in an airtight container in your pantry or another cool, dark place. Legumes should keep fresh for up to 12 months if properly stored. When refrigerated in an airtight container, cooked cranberry beans will keep for about three days. Try to use them within six months after purchase because old beans take longer to cook and lose part of their nutritional value.

A glass, porcelain, or stainless steel container with a tight lid, can help store cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cooked beans can also be frozen and kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Potential Drawbacks of Cranberry Bean

People can be allergic to cranberry beans, though this is uncommon. Cranberry beans are not a typical food allergen. However, some people may experience allergic reactions to cranberry beans as they are a legume like peanuts and soybeans—two of the top eight allergenic foods. If you think you might have a bean allergy, talk to your doctor about preventive measures.


Cranberry beans are a legume with a high vitamin content, a sweet, mild flavour, and a substantial texture that works well on its own or in combination with other ingredients. Their wonderfully swirling red and brown skin and creamy texture make them famous.

In addition, it is rich in B-complex vitamins, folate, potassium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. Therefore, it benefits general health, including heart and brain function. Additionally, it minimises cardiovascular risks, aids in weight control, is suitable for pregnant women, has anti-cancer qualities, and helps avoids diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is cranberry bean good for you?

A. A portion of cranberry beans offers 14% of your daily phosphorus and thiamin requirements. Iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper are abundant in beans. However, it has lower calcium, vitamin B6, zinc, and riboflavin content.

Q. Are cranberry beans toxic?

A. Yes, cranberry beans are toxic in raw form, and raw or undercooked beans contain toxins like phenolic acids, which you can quickly destroy by cooking. However, cranberry beans are safe to consume if taken in moderate quantities. Excessive consumption of cranberry beans may cause digestive issues such as flatulence.

Q. Is cranberry beans good for weight loss?

A. Yes, cranberry beans are good for weight loss as they have low calorie, high carbohydrate, and fibre content. A high-fibre diet keeps you satiated for extended periods, which may help you lose weight.

Q. Are cranberry beans the same as kidney beans?

A. Although cranberry beans and kidney beans are similar in structure and form, cranberry beans are oval-shaped and medium in size, with a mottled tan and red skin. Cranberry beans have a creamy texture and a chestnut-like flavour. In addition, cranberry beans contain more zinc, magnesium, and vitamins B1 and folate.

In contrast, kidney beans are large kidney-shaped beans with lush, glossy surfaces. They have a firm texture, and you can use them in soups or other dishes which require more extended cooking periods. Furthermore, kidney beans are higher in copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, and vitamins B3, B6, and K. 

Q. Are cranberry beans keto?

A. Cranberry beans are not keto-friendly due to their high carb content. Even a tiny portion size may be enough to knock you out of ketosis. Avoid cranberries on keto due to their high net carb content (24.5 g of net carbs per 100g serving). To stay in ketosis, limit your net carb consumption to 20g – 30g daily.

Q. Can cranberry beans be eaten raw?

A. No, cranberry beans and other similar beans are not consumed raw. Also, this is because they contain a toxin, phenolic acid (which interferes in the absorption of iron in the body), that only dissipates after 10 minutes of boiling. Hence, cooking by shelling the beans and rinsing them well with water is better.

Q. Do cranberry beans have carbs?

A. Yes, as per USDA, cranberry beans contain 24.5g of net carbs per 100 g serving. Most of the carbohydrates in cranberry beans are starch and dietary fibre. Carbohydrates in the form of starch provide instant energy to the body. However, to maintain body weight, consume it in moderation as it has high carbohydrate content.

Q. What’s the difference between a pinto bean and a cranberry bean?

A. Cranberry beans are small legumes with deep red spots that resemble pinto beans. Cranberry beans are native to Italy. The bean looks like the pinto bean but has more of a creamy texture and a similar taste to chestnuts. They have the same mottled appearance, and you can use them in the same recipes.

Pinto and cranberry beans both have a nutty flavour. Pinto beans are spotted legumes from South and Central America, among the most popular in the United States and Mexico.

About the Author

Zoomi, holds Masters degree in Nutritional Sciences from University of Allahabad, qualified CBSE-UGC-NET in Home Science and pursuing PhD in Nutritional Sciences, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj. A Strong research professional focused in Nutritional Sciences where she have more than 8 yrs of work experience in the field of Nutrition and Research, had work experience as a Dietician at Super-specialty hospitals. Skilled in Weight Management, Hypertension, Diabetes and Micronutrient related deficiencies. Additionally, she is well-versed in biostatistics and proficient in statistical tools such as SPSS and STATA. She is endowed with strong writing abilities and has authored her own book, more than six research papers, and six book chapters. Holder of various awards like Excellent Dietician, 2019 and 2020 by Saksham Society, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Academic Excellence at National Conference by Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, Jaipur (Rajasthan), India and Research Achievement Award-2020 for Research & Innovation by ACAIRS Global Network Pvt. Ltd. Life Member of Nutrition Society of India, NIN, Hyderabad and participated and presented papers in four International and six National conferences. Zoomi believes the right habits play the most crucial role in one’s health and wellness journey. The key to fit body is a fit mind and mental state.

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