Is Rajma Good for Diabetes Patients?

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian, 25 Years of Experience) February 29, 2024

“Rajma chawal” isn’t just a recipe it’s a soul food for many people in India. However, if you have diabetes one question which might have hit you- is rajma, the beloved kidney bean curry, a friend or foe? As the battle against diabetes involves careful consideration of every meal, understanding the impact of staple foods like Rajma becomes crucial. In this exploration, we delve into the nutritional value, glycemic index profiles, etc. We will see potential rajma benefits and side effects and concerns surrounding the consumption of rajma for individuals grappling with diabetes. Let’s begin and separate fact from fiction regarding rajma and diabetes.

Defining Rajma

Rajma refers to red kidney beans, a variety of common beans native to Central America but widely used in Indian cuisine. The beans were introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 15th century and eventually made their way to other parts of the world through trade routes. 

These kidney-shaped beans are known for their rich taste and creamy texture when cooked. Rajma is a versatile ingredient and a staple in many Indian dishes, particularly in the popular North Indian dish called “Rajma Chawal,”. Apart from being delicious, rajma is also valued for its nutritional content, including protein, fiber, and various essential minerals.

Nutritional Value of Rajma

Rajma seeds benefits are many due to their rich nutrient profile. According to the latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture website, 100 grams of red kidney beans or rajma contain the following nutrients:

Nutritional Value of Rajma
Nutrients per 100 grams Amount
Calories 337 Kcal
Protein 22.5 g
Fats 1.06 g
Carbs 61.3 g
Fiber 15.2 g
Calcium 83 mg
Iron 6.69 mg
Magnesium 138 mg
Manganese 1.11 mg
Phosphorous 406 mg
Potassium 1360 mg
Sodium 12 mg
Vitamin C 4.5 mg
Folate 394 ug
Read More: Vegetarian Diabetes Diet Plan With Indian Foods

Glycemic Index of Rajma

Rajma’s glycemic index comes in the low glycemic index category. The glycemic index of rajma is just 24 according to the Indian Express Health website. Moreover, the glycemic load of rajma is just 14.7, which comes in the medium GL category. Consuming low-glycemic foods is always beneficial for diabetics. Rajma, being a low-glycemic food, is safe for daily consumption. You can include rajma in your diabetes diet plan.

Rajma and Diabetes

Now it’s time we answer the question: is rajma good for diabetes patients? You will be surprised to know rajma and diabetes have a positive relationship. Rajma or kidney beans have a good amount of complex carbs and dietary fiber. Plus, rajma beans have a high presence of amylose. Amylose is a slow-acting carbohydrate, just like amylopectin, which doesn’t cause blood glucose spikes. Rajma also has essential micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C., etc., which are beneficial for diabetes patients.

There are clinical studies that prove rajma has anti-diabetic properties. A 2019 study published on the National Institute of Health website shows rajma helps reduce diabetes by inhibiting a compound called α-glucosidase. Another study done by a Chinese laboratory showed polyphenol complexes in rajma displayed anti-diabetic effects on diabetic rats. Rajma consumption enhanced insulin resistance and regulated gut bacteria in the study. Therefore, this explains all the queries to the above question.

Read More: Are Sugar-Free Biscuits Safe for Diabetics?

Benefits of Rajma Beans for Diabetes Patients

Benefits of Rajma Beans for Diabetes Patients

Rajma beans offer several notable benefits for individuals managing diabetes. Here’s a detailed look at why they can be a positive addition to a diabetes-friendly diet:

Fiber Content

Rajma beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber. According to the USDA website, 100 grams of rajma contain around 15.2 grams of fiber. Fiber plays a pivotal role in diabetes management as it helps in the regulation of sugar levels. The soluble fiber in rajma develops into a gel-like compound in your digestive tract. It slows down the absorption of glucose. This, in turn, prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar after meals, promoting better glycemic control.

Low Glycemic Index (GI)

Foods with a lower GI are considered better for diabetes patients as they cause a delayed and more gradual rise in blood glucose. According to the Indian Express website, rajma has a low GI value of just 24. Rajma has a relatively low glycemic index, making it a favorable option for those aiming to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Protein-Rich Option

Rajma is a valuable source of plant-based protein. Protein is essential for overall health, and it plays a crucial role in managing diabetes. According to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, 100 grams of rajma has more than 22 grams of protein. If you are a vegetarian, then rajma is a very good food for fulfilling your protein requirements. Including protein in meals helps increase satiety. It reduces the likelihood of overeating. It also contributes to weight management – a key aspect of diabetes control.

Nutrient Density

Beyond fiber and protein, Rajma beans are packed with essential nutrients. They are a good source of minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which play roles in various bodily functions. According to the NIH-published study, magnesium is associated with enhancing insulin sensitivity levels, which is beneficial for diabetics. Also, rajma benefits for kidneys are well known. Called kidney beans it greatly helps improve the organ’s function.

Heart Health Benefits

Diabetes often coexists with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues. The fiber, potassium, and antioxidants found in rajma contribute to heart health. According to the National Lipid Association website, rajma for diabetes patients contains soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control website, potassium helps regulate blood pressure. Thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes. Also there are many rajma benefits for skin as well. Consuming rajma improves skin health.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy amount of body weight is very crucial for diabetes management. The combination of fiber and protein in Rajma for diabetes patients contributes to a feeling of fullness. Rajma for weight loss is effective as it potentially reduces overall calorie intake. This can be beneficial for those aiming to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

In conclusion, incorporating Rajma beans into a diabetes-friendly diet can offer you an array of nutritional advantages. From supporting blood sugar control to promoting heart health and aiding in weight management. Rajma stands out as a versatile and nutritious option for individuals navigating the complexities of diabetes.

Read More: 7 Day Indian Diet Plan for Diabetic Patients

Ways to Consume Rajma for Diabetes Patients

Ways to Consume Rajma for Diabetes Patients

For diabetes patients in India, incorporating rajma health benefits into the diet can be both culturally rich and health-conscious. Here are some traditional and diabetes-friendly ways to consume Rajma:

Rajma Chawal with Brown Rice

Enjoy the classic combination of Rajma with brown rice. Brown rice has a lower GI value compared to white rice, making it a better choice. However, you can also use white rice, but then you just have to add fiber to your meal. Include a plate full of green salad this will balance your overall meal. Also, do not consume more than a katori of either kind of rice.

Rajma Salad Chaat

Create a chaat-style salad by combining boiled Rajma with chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a sprinkle of chaat masala. This flavorful and nutritious dish can serve as a light and satisfying meal.

Rajma Roti Rolls

Use whole wheat or multi-grain rotis to make Rajma rolls. Fill the rotis with a mixture of Rajma, onions, and mint chutney for a wholesome and diabetes-friendly wrap.

Rajma Soup (Rasam Style)

Give a South Indian twist to Rajma by preparing a rasam-style soup. Blend Rajma with tomatoes, tamarind, and spices to create a tangy and comforting soup.

Rajma Curry with Methi Thepla

Pair Rajma curry with methi (fenugreek) thepla for a delightful Gujarati-inspired meal. The thepla adds a unique flavor and the benefits of fenugreek, known for its potential blood sugar-regulating properties.

Rajma Paratha

Stuff whole wheat parathas with a filling of mashed Rajma, spices, and herbs. Serve with a side of plain yogurt for a wholesome and satisfying meal.

Rajma Pulao with Vegetables

Prepare a fragrant Rajma pulao by cooking the beans with basmati rice, mixed vegetables, and aromatic spices. This one-pot dish is both delicious and diabetes-friendly.

Rajma and Palak Kadhi

Combine Rajma with spinach and prepare a yogurt-based kadhi. This tangy and nutritious dish can be paired with brown rice or eaten as a soup.

Read More: Best Indian Diet Plan Chart for Weight Loss

Side Effects of Rajma for Diabetes Patients

Side Effects of Rajma for Diabetes Patients

Rajma (kidney beans) can be a nutritious addition to the diet. However, there are certain considerations for diabetes patients, and consuming excessive amounts may lead to potential side effects:

Carbohydrate Content

Rajma contains carbohydrates in considerable amounts. Therefore, excessive intake without proper portion control may lead to elevated blood sugar. It’s crucial for diabetes patients to monitor their carbohydrate intake and consider factors like the overall glycemic load of the meal.

Flatulence and Digestive Issues

Rajma contains complex carbohydrates and fiber. This can sometimes lead to flatulence and digestive discomfort, especially if not cooked thoroughly. Soaking and cooking Rajma properly can help reduce these effects.

Insulin Resistance

In rare cases, some diabetics may experience adverse effects due to the lectins present in rajma. This could potentially contribute to insulin resistance. However, cooking methods such as soaking and boiling can significantly reduce lectin levels.

Hypoglycemia Risk

While Rajma has a low glycemic index, consuming it in large quantities without balancing it with other foods may lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in some individuals. More particularly if they are on medications that lower blood sugar.

Allergic Reactions

Some individuals may be allergic to certain proteins present in Rajma. Allergic reactions can vary, ranging from mild symptoms like itching or swelling to severe reactions. If allergic to legumes, caution is advised.

It’s essential for diabetes patients to practice moderation, consider their overall diet, and monitor how rajma consumption affects their blood sugar levels. Consulting with your diabetologist is necessary as they can provide personalized guidance. It’s important to note that the potential side effects mentioned are not universal. Many individuals with diabetes can enjoy rajma as part of a well-balanced diet.

Read More: Is Rice Good For Diabetes? 


In conclusion, Rajma emerges as a potentially beneficial addition to the diet for diabetes patients. Its fiber-rich composition and low glycemic index make it a diabetes-friendly choice, aiding in blood sugar control. The protein content adds to satiety, supporting weight management—a crucial aspect of diabetes care. However, moderation is key. Portion control, coupled with a balanced diet, allows individuals to enjoy Rajma’s benefits without compromising blood sugar levels. In essence, Rajma can be a flavorful and nourishing ally in the journey toward better diabetes management. Provided it is integrated mindfully into a comprehensive dietary plan.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does rajma increase sugar?

Rajma for diabetes patients are good because they don’t cause much spike in sugar levels. Rajma has a low glycemic profile and has complex carbs and fiber, which delay blood sugar spikes.

How much sugar is in rajma?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture website, 100 grams of rajma contains just 2.1 grams of sugar. Rajma contains very negligible amounts of sugar.

Who should not eat rajma?

Generally, rajma is safe to consume for all. However, if you have an allergy or G6PD deficiency, only then you should avoid the consumption of rajma.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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