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Cranberry Beans: 10 Health Benefits of Borlotti Beans, Description, and Side Effects

If you are here because you are looking to find out the health benefits of borlotti beans, you have come to the right place, so read on.

Welcome to the world of Borlotti Beans – a delightful legume with a captivating taste that will leave your taste buds begging for more! These beautiful beans, also known as Cranberry Beans, are a culinary delight and bring various health benefits. Whether you enjoy them in soups, stews, or salads, these little wonders add color and flavor while nourishing your body from within.

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of Borlotti Beans – exploring their nutritional value, medicinal properties, and even some delicious recipes to tantalize your palate. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee (or perhaps some borlotti-infused dish!), and let’s embark on this journey together. Get ready to discover why these fantastic legumes should be a staple in your kitchen pantry!

benefits of Cranberry Beans
Cranberry Beans

What is Borlotti Beans

Borlotti beans (Phaseolus vulgaris var. borlotti) are a variety of common beans native to South America. They are also known as cranberry beans, Roman beans, saluggia beans, gadhra beans, or rosecoco beans.

  • Scientific name: Phaseolus vulgaris var. borlotti
  • Other names: Cranberry beans, Roman beans, saluggia beans, gadhra beans, rosecoco beans
  • Description: Borlotti beans are medium to large, light pink or beige beans with crimson or dark pink splashes and streaks. They have a smooth, creamy texture and a nutty flavor.
  • Appearance: Borlotti beans are typically kidney-shaped but can also be oval or round. They are light pink or beige with crimson or dark pink splashes and streaks.
  • Habitat: Borlotti beans are native to South America but are now grown in many parts of the world. They are a popular crop in Italy, Portugal, and France.
  • Taste: Borlotti beans have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. They are also somewhat earthy and creamy.
  • Size: Borlotti beans are medium to large beans. They typically measure about 1 inch in length and 0.5 inches in width.
  • Color: Borlotti beans are light pink or beige with crimson or dark pink splashes and streaks.
  • Seeds: Borlotti beans have large, round seeds. The seeds are typically light pink or beige with dark pink streaks.
  • Pods: Borlotti beans grow in pods that are about 2 inches long. The pods are green when the beans are young, but they turn brown when the beans are ripe.
  • Physical characteristics: Borlotti beans are a good protein, fiber, and iron source. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C.

Borlotti beans are a versatile legume that can be used in various dishes. They are often used in soups, stews, and salads. They can also be roasted, mashed, or used in pasta dishes.

Borlotti Beans Nutrition Per 100g

Here is the approximate nutritional content of cooked borlotti beans per 100 grams:

  • Calories: 127 kcal
  • Protein: 7.7 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 22.8 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 6.4 grams
    • Sugars: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.8 grams
  • Vitamins and Minerals:
    • Vitamin C: 1.2 mg (2% DV)
    • Vitamin K: 1.1 µg (1% DV)
    • Folate (Vitamin B9): 44 µg (11% DV)
    • Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 0.1 mg (6% DV)
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.1 mg (5% DV)
    • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 0.6 mg (3% DV)
    • Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (5% DV)
    • Calcium: 29 mg (3% DV)
    • Iron: 1.5 mg (8% DV)
    • Magnesium: 42 mg (11% DV)
    • Phosphorus: 124 mg (12% DV)
    • Potassium: 418 mg (12% DV)
    • Zinc: 0.9 mg (6% DV)

Take note that the exact nutritional content can vary slightly depending on factors like the cooking method and specific brand or variety of borlotti beans. These values are based on cooked beans without added salt or seasonings. Borlotti beans are a nutritious food choice and provide a good source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Medicinal and Health Benefits of Borlotti Beans

Borlotti beans, like many other legumes, offer several medicinal and health benefits when incorporated into a balanced diet. Here are some of the potential health benefits of consuming borlotti beans:

  1. Rich in Nutrients: Borlotti beans are a good source of essential nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, vitamins (folate, thiamin, vitamin B6), and minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc). These nutrients are important for overall health and well-being.
  2. Heart Health: The fiber, potassium, and magnesium content in borlotti beans may help support heart health. Fiber can help lower cholesterol levels, while potassium and magnesium help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  3. Weight Management: The high fiber and protein content in borlotti beans can help promote satiety and reduce overall calorie intake, making them a suitable option for those looking to manage their weight.
  4. Digestive Health: Dietary fiber aids in digestion and can help prevent constipation. Borlotti beans can also promote a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for overall digestive health.
  5. Blood Sugar Control: The combination of protein and fiber in borlotti beans can help stabilize blood sugar levels, making them a good choice for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
  6. Bone Health: Borlotti beans contain essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which contribute to bone health. These minerals are important for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
  7. Antioxidant Properties: Borlotti beans contain antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols that help protect cells from oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including certain cancers.
  8. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Regular consumption of legumes, including borlotti beans, has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
  9. Protein Source: Borlotti beans are a good plant-based source of protein, making them an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.
  10. Low in Fat: Borlotti beans are naturally low in fat, which can be beneficial for those aiming to reduce their fat intake.

It’s worth noting that while borlotti beans offer numerous health benefits, they should be prepared and consumed properly. Cooking them thoroughly is important to eliminate any potential toxins, and if using canned beans, it’s advisable to rinse them to reduce sodium content. Additionally, individual dietary needs and health conditions may vary, so it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant changes to your diet.

Side Effects and Disadvantages of Borlotti Beans

While borlotti beans are packed with nutrients, it’s important to be aware of some potential side effects and disadvantages. Here are five things you should keep in mind:

1. Digestive Issues: Some people may experience gas, bloating, or stomach discomfort after consuming borlotti beans. This is because they contain complex sugars called oligosaccharides that can be difficult for our bodies to digest.

2. Allergic Reactions: Like other legumes, borlotti beans have the potential to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Symptoms may include hives, itching, swelling of the lips or tongue, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect an allergy, it’s best to avoid these beans altogether.

3. Purine Content: Borlotti beans contain purines which can be problematic for individuals with gout or kidney problems. High levels of purines can lead to the production of uric acid crystals in joints and tissues.

4. Antinutrients: Borlotti beans contain antinutrients like phytic acid and lectins that can inhibit nutrient absorption and cause digestive distress in some people.

5. Cooking Precautions: It’s essential to properly cook borlotti beans before consuming them, as raw or undercooked beans contain a toxin called phytohemagglutinin, which can cause food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

To minimize these side effects and disadvantages, ensure you soak dried borlotti beans overnight before cooking them thoroughly at high temperatures.

Recipes: How to Cook Borlotti Beans

Borlotti beans can be prepared from canned, fresh, or dried forms. Here are instructions for cooking borlotti beans using each of these methods:

1. Canned Borlotti Beans:

Canned borlotti beans are already cooked and just need to be heated before using. Here’s how to do it:


  • 1 can of borlotti beans
  • Water (for rinsing)


  1. Open the can of borlotti beans.
  2. Pour the beans into a colander or fine-mesh strainer to drain the liquid.
  3. Rinse the beans thoroughly under cold running water to remove excess salt and any canning liquid.
  4. Once rinsed, the beans are ready to use in your preferred recipe. Add them to salads, soups, stews, or pasta dishes.

2. Fresh Borlotti Beans:

Fresh borlotti beans are available when they are in season, usually in late summer or early fall. Here’s how to prepare them:


  • Fresh borlotti beans in their pods


  1. Shell the fresh borlotti beans by removing them from their pods. Discard the pods; you only need the beans.
  2. Rinse the fresh beans under cold running water.
  3. You can cook them by boiling or steaming. To boil, place the beans in a pot of boiling water for about 15-20 minutes until they are tender. To steam, steam them for a similar amount of time until tender.
  4. Once cooked, you can use the fresh borlotti beans in various dishes, including salads, soups, or as a side dish.

3. Dried Borlotti Beans:

Dried borlotti beans require soaking and longer cooking than canned or fresh beans. Here’s how to prepare dried borlotti beans:


  • Dried borlotti beans
  • Water for soaking and cooking
  • Optional: Salt, garlic, herbs, or other seasonings for flavor


  1. Sort through the dried beans to remove any debris or damaged beans.
  2. Rinse the dried beans under cold running water.
  3. Soak the beans: There are two methods for soaking dried borlotti beans:
    • Overnight soak: Place the beans in a large bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
    • Quick soak: Place the beans in a pot, cover them with water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and let them soak for 1-2 hours.
  4. Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
  5. Cooking: Place the soaked and drained beans in a pot, cover them with fresh water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are tender. Cooking times may vary depending on the age of the dried beans.
  6. Optionally, add salt, garlic, herbs, or other seasonings during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  7. Once the dried borlotti beans are tender, drain them and use them in your favorite recipes, such as soups, stews, casseroles, or as a side dish.

Cooking times for dried borlotti beans can vary, so it’s essential to taste them periodically to ensure they are cooked to your desired level of tenderness.

The Bottom Line

Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are delicious and packed with essential nutrients and health benefits. From promoting heart health to aiding weight management, these versatile legumes have a lot to offer.

Incorporating borlotti beans into your diet is easy. Whether you choose to use canned, fresh, or dried beans, countless recipes can help you enjoy these nutritious beans’ unique flavors and textures.

However, like any food, moderation is key. While borlotti beans provide numerous health benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects such as gas and digestive issues when consumed excessively.

So go ahead and give borlotti beans a try! Experiment with different recipes and savor their rich taste while reaping the many nutritional advantages they offer. Your body will thank you for it!

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