Health Benefits of the Adzuki Bean

The haricot azuki bean, or , has been cropping up all over the country — from ethnic food stores and Trader Joe’s to big chains like Whole Foods Market and a growing number of grocers. Also known as red mung beans and Chinese red beans, they are rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. They can help control diabetes, prevent heart disease and build muscle mass. The finely ground adzuki bean flour is also an effective exfoliating agent, which helps rejuvenate skin and strengthen hair.

Scientifically identified as Vigna angularis, this small red bean plant grows well in warm Asian regions of China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. It is also cultivated in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat in India as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

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Adzuki beans are loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats and dietary fibers and have been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels. They are a good source of iron, folate, potassium, phosphorus and copper. Their high content of resistant starch provides a significant amount of dietary fiber that travels to the colon undigested and feeds beneficial bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, thereby protecting you against indigestion, digestive disorders and colon cancers.

Being a good source of iron, adzuki beans can prevent anemia, a health condition in which there is a low level of hemoglobin, the substance that transports oxygen throughout the body. They also contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, folate and vitamin B6. These nutrients support a healthy kidney, improve blood circulation and reduce fluid accumulation in the body. The proanthocyanidins and other bioactive compounds in adzuki beans prevent interstitial fibrosis in the kidney, thus maintaining its health.

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