Azuki beans, also known as Vigna angularis, grow on annual vines all throughout Asian and the Himalayan region. Famous in Japan and China, the bean has flourished for centuries in the Yangtse River Valley and grow via epicotyl growth, leaving the cotyledons (seed leaf) below the soil surface. They are most often found with a red color, but also come in varieties of white, black and gray.
Cultivated well before 4000 BC, Azuki beans have a higher antioxidant value than cranberries or blueberries. Needless to say, they offer numerous health benefits that definitely qualify them for the ‘super-food’ category.
Here are a few brief, quick ways Azuki beans can boost your health.
Health Benefits of Azuki Beans
- They are high in soluble fiber which helps to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, boosts digestion, and boosts heart health.
- Azuki beans are full of important trace minerals including potassium, iron, copper, thiamin, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
- These little red beans contain folate and numerous B vitamins, including B1, B3, and Niacin. B vitamins are critical for supporting our immune systems and supplying us with adequate energy throughout the day while folate is the essential ‘pregnancy-mineral’.
- They are packed with protein. So skip the protein powder and protein bars and just eat a cup of azuki beans instead as a healthy non-meat protein source.
- In Chinese medicine Azuki beans are called Chi Xiao Dou and have been used to cure urinary tract infections by supporting kidney health, and helping to reduce edema (swelling). They are also used as a natural way to purify the blood and remove toxins form the body.
- They support the draining of ‘dampness’ from the body in both Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions.
- They support a healthy reproductive system.
- They may even reduce the chance of breast cancer due to a high level of saponins, which are found in many beans, not just Azuki.
Azuki are used in all sorts or recipes, from cold bean salads, to add-in mixes for ‘shave ice’ in Hawaii, a delicacy on a sunny day that has been enjoyed for generations. You will also find them in the East as sweet cakes, dumplings, or dim sum. They can be cooked like chickpeas or lentils, or with your favorite greens. Even better, come up with your own recipes to experience the super-food goodness from this delicious super food.
Check out NaturalSociety’s health benefits page to learn more about some of your other favorite foods. The page offers health benefits of 60+ foods.