Are you fond of Asian cuisines? If you are, you must have interacted with various types of beans, including Adzuki beans. These are small red beans that are popular in East Asia. They are often used in sweet desserts and cakes but can also be used in savory dishes. Adzuki beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein, among other minerals. Like most beans, they have myriad health benefits, such as aiding digestion and reducing inflammation. Read on to uncover more benefits of Adzuki beans and how to prepare them.
What are Adzuki Beans?
Adzuki (vigna angularis), also known asazuki bean, aduki bean, red mung bean, or red bean, is a legume widely cultivated in east Asia.
The name ‘Adzuki’ is a Japanese word whose pronunciation is ‘Azuki.’ In physical nature, Adzuki beans are small red beans, and you will mostly find them in Asian cuisines. While they are mostly red, you might also find white, gray, and black ones depending on their origin. They have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and will feature in desserts and red bean paste.
Due to their sweet nature, they can also be used in sushi, candy, waffle toppings, bread, and biscuits. If you love Asian cuisines, you probably have tasted them. Besides being a host of nutrients such as iron, protein, and fiber, these beans also have generous antioxidants that may enhance your health by boosting immunity and preventing disease.
Red mung beans are cooked the same way you would other beans. After that, you can add them to various recipes, including soups, baked dishes, stir-frying with vegetables, etc.
Here is more about these beans and how they can benefit your body.
The Benefits of Adzuki Beans
1. Enhances Digestion
Adzuki beans possess a high amount of resistant starch and dietary fibers. These fibers travel to the colon while undigested and nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut system. These bacteria feed on the fibers threads and create short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. According to research, these fatty acids contribute to a healthier gut lining, which prevents bacteria and other microbes from entering the blood.
Short-fatty acids can also fight inflammation and provide antioxidant benefits that may contribute to colon cancer prevention.
Additionally, the fibers in these beans can boost your bowel movements, enhance regularity, and prevent constipation.
2. Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is a global epidemic affecting about 382 million people worldwide, and the number is only increasing. It’s also a significant cause of heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and lower limb amputations. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), diabetes could be the 7th cause of death by 2030.
As a prevention strategy, a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and a healthy diet, is paramount in maintaining insulin sensitization and regulating blood sugar levels. Legumes like red mung beans are one of the best foods you can eat to curb your risk or improve an existing condition.
These beans contain a high fiber content that helps regulate insulin sensitivity and prevent sudden increases in blood sugar after eating.
What’s more? Adzuki beans contain protein that blocks the action of alpha-glucosidases in the body. The alpha-glucosidases are instrumental enzymes that aid in breaking carbs into absorbable sugars. By so doing, the beans reduce blood sugar spikes.
3. Aids in Weight Loss
Excess weight may increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and more.
However, eating adzuki beans can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Being a host of tens of nutrients and minerals, Adzuki beans make one feel fuller for a long time hence decreasing hunger pangs.
Additionally, the beans are low in calories and ensure that you reap the nutritional value without adding pounds.
When combined with regular exercise and other healthy foods, the Adzuki beans may help you lose weight. However, to realize the results, you must be consistent with the intake and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
4. Improves Your Heart Health
Adzuki beans contain magnesium, folate, potassium, and dietary fibers, which are crucial for enhancing cardiovascular health. Evidence-based research shows that potassium is vital in relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow. This will, in turn, reduce blood pressure and the strain on the heart.
Conversely, folate helps break down homocysteine, an amino acid that, in excess amounts, can damage your arterial walls, thus increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
In fact, a study found that folic acid supplementation can lower your homocysteine levels by up to 25 percent.
With the intake of these beans, among other foods, plus exercise, your heart will be in its best shape and protected from heart attacks and strokes.
5. Strengthens Your Bones
One of the major problems affecting bone strength is osteoporosis. While it is often associated with old age, younger people could also get it when the bones are demineralized.
Adzuki beans contain many minerals, such as magnesium, copper, and zinc, all required for bone strength. Regular intake boosts your bone health and prevents the occurrence of osteoporosis.
6. Prevents Bladder Infections
Aduki beans have long been used in folk medicine to alleviate different conditions, including edema or water retention, urinary dysfunction, and bladder infections in both men and women.
Since Adzuki beans are a rich source of soluble fibers, they can prevent the adherence of bacteria on the bladder and urinary system in general, thus preventing the associated conditions.
The beans can also alleviate pain and discomfort hence soothing the urinary tract.
Additionally, these beans can boost the number of probiotics n the body. Probiotics can help fight inflammation and restore urogenital flora, thus preventing urinary tract infections.
7. Rich in Anti-Depression Properties
Taking adzuki beans regularly enhances nerve impulse conduction and relaxes the mind. Studies show that this is due to the presence of the amino acid tryptophan, which brings an equilibrium in serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps combat anxiety and insomnia and maintains good moods. It also promotes a positive state of mind and reduces lethargy.
8. Improves tissue Growth and Repair
Protein is crucial for the body’s growth and repair. While most people get it from animal proteins and by-products, vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to live healthy can benefit from Adzuki beans.
The beans have a high amount of plant protein which is broken down into amino acids in the body. Amino acids have different bodily functions, including promoting muscle tissue repair and growth, regulating blood sugar levels, and healing wounds.
Amino acids can also boost energy, replenish cells, boost the immune system, and sustain a healthy digestive system.
9. Helps in Liver Detoxification
At the mention of detoxing, most people think of juices, smoothies, and teas. Well, they are not the only foods that can help you Detox.
Adzuki beans contain molybdenum, a mineral instrumental in the natural detoxification of your liver and body, including breaking down drugs and other harmful substances that enter your body.
In so doing, molybdenum can fight cancer, improve male fertility, manage anemia, prevent diabetes, and improve arthritis management.
10. Minimises Birth Defects
Pregnancy can be quite a stressful journey sometimes. While every woman hopes to deliver a healthy baby, congenital disabilities happen, and they can be heartbreaking. The good news is that you can avert these congenital disabilities by consuming Adzuki beans.
These beans have a generous amount of folate and other B vitamins. These nutrients are crucial for the development of unborn children. For starters, folate prevents congenital disabilities in the brain and spinal cord, while the other vitamins can promote healthier skin, vision, muscles, bones, and nerves.
These beans are also rich in iron, which can help prevent anemia in pregnancy. Anemia is when one has fewer red blood cells circulating in the blood than is needed. This can result in preterm labor as well as a low birth weight baby.
11. Enhances Kidney Function
While the kidney is a vital body organ, it is susceptible to various infections and disorders, including chronic Kidney Disorders (CKD). CKD can contribute to other conditions, such as high blood pressure, fluid accumulation, and other cardiovascular diseases. Adzuki beans contain proanthocyanidins and fibers that prevent interstitial fibrosis in kidney damage. This promotes better kidney function and faster healing.
12. Prevents Anemia
Anemia is a health condition caused by the deficiency of iron. It often leads to excessive fatigue and reduced productivity levels. This is because red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen, and oxygen provides energy t the body. So when red blood cells are few, there’s less hemoglobin in circulation, thus causing fatigue and reduced productivity.
With Adzuki beans being an iron powerhouse, consuming them prevents anemia.
13. Controls the Cholesterol Levels
The body has two types of cholesterol; good and bad. The good cholesterol is HDL (high-density lipoprotein), while the bad is LDL (low-density lipoprotein). The latter can be detrimental to your heart and general health, including increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and peripheral artery disease.
Adzuki beans contain soluble dietary fiber that can bind to cholesterol articles in the gut and eliminate them from the body.
Fiber also promotes bile acid elimination, which facilitates the use of cholesterol to produce bile. Bile is essential for the digestion of fats as well as the elimination of certain toxins and worn-out red blood cells from the body.
14. Promotes Better Skin Health
Adzuki beans are rich in antioxidants such as saponin, which can promote beautiful and youthful skin.
Besides eating them, you can crush red mung beans into a micro-grain powder to use as a homemade facial and body scrub.
To use it, mix with honey and apply it to the face or body. Let it sit for about 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.
Saponin from the beans gives a natural foam that cleanses and unclogs pores to give you that natural glow.
15. Enhances Body Metabolism
Eating Aduki beans is a great way to boost your body’s metabolism.
Metabolism is the process by which you convert the calories you eat or those into energy. This can boost weight loss, increase energy levels, and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Adzuki beans contain sodium glutamate, a good source
of GABA, which improves glucose metabolism, induces ketogenesis, and suppresses fat accumulation.
How to Use Adzuki Beans
You can cook adzuki beans in various ways. When preparing them, first rinse them and then soak them in water overnight.
Proceed to drain the beans and add them to a pot of fresh water.
Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the beans for about 3 hours or until tender.
Once the beans are cooked, they can be used in recipes as desired.
Here are a few ways you can use the Adzuki beans.
- Desserts: Add cooked Adzuki beans to your sugar-free sweet buns, ice cream, and rice cakes.
- Vegetable Curries: Since the beans have some sweetness, you can use them to spice up your vegetable curries.
- Soups: When blended with other root vegetables and legumes like lentils in soups, they add a hint of sweetness that gives your dish a unique twist.
- Flavored Tea: You can roast the beans and boil them in water to make tea. Add a natural sweetener and your preferred fruit peels like citrus for enhanced flavor.
- Salads: Toss the cooked beans together with other ingredients to make protein-rich and filling salads. If you’re feeling more experimental, let them sprout and enjoy them with other vegetables.
Potential Risks of Consuming Adzuki Beans
Adzuki beans do not have any side effects when taken in the usual proportions in means.
However, like most beans, the beans may cause a gas problem, especially for people who are not regular bean eaters.
If this happens to you, you must slowly introduce the beans into your diet and listen to your body.
Soaking them overnight and changing the water during cooking can also help prevent gas.
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As you can see, Adzuki beans are a great source of plant-based protein and offer a host of other health benefits. They are low in calories and fat and are a good source of fiber and antioxidants. Adzuki beans are also known for their ability to regulate blood sugar levels, boost heart health, and more.
So if you’re looking for a healthy, nutrient-rich food to add to your diet, Adzuki beans are a great choice.
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