Adzuki beans, also called azuki or aduki, are a small bean grown throughout East Asia and the Himalayas.
Though they come in a range of colors, red adzuki beans are the most well known.
Adzuki beans are linked to several health benefits, ranging from a healthier heart and weight loss to improved digestion and to lower the risk of diabetes.
Plus, they are easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes.
This article tells you everything you need to know about adzuki beans.
Packed with Nutrients
Like most beans, adzuki beans are loaded with fiber, protein, complex carbs and beneficial plant compounds.
Boiled adzuki beans (100-gram) portion contains:
• Calories: 143
• Protein: 8.9 grams
• Fat: 1 gram
• Carbs: 24.2 grams
• Fiber: 11.8 grams
Adzuki beans also provide good amounts of antioxidants, which are beneficial plant compounds that can protect your body against aging and diseases.
Studies show that adzuki beans may contain up to 29 different types of antioxidants, making them one of the most antioxidant-rich foods available.
However, like all beans, adzuki beans also harbor antinutrients, which reduce your body’s ability to absorb minerals from the beans.
Soaking, sprouting and fermenting the beans prior to eating them are three good ways to reduce antinutrient levels and make the beans easier to digest.
Adzuki beans are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. Soaking, sprouting and fermenting makes it easier to absorb these nutrients.
May Help Reduce Diabetes Risk
Adzuki beans may also contribute to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
That’s in part because they are rich in fiber, which helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
What’s more, test-tube and animal studies report that protein found in adzuki beans may block the action of intestinal alpha-glucosidases.
Alpha-glucosidases are an enzyme needed to break down complex carbs into smaller, more easily absorbable sugars. Therefore, blocking their action may reduce blood sugar spikes like some diabetes medications.
Adzuki beans are also rich in antioxidants, which experts believe may have some anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetes effects.
Rich in fiber and antioxidants, adzuki beans may help block the absorption of sugars in your stomach, potentially contributing to better blood sugar levels and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other Potential Benefits
Adzuki beans may offer some additional benefits. The most well-researched include:
• May help reduce birth defects: Adzuki beans are rich in folate, a nutrient important during pregnancy and linked to a reduced risk of neural tube defect.
• May fight cancer cells: Test-tube studies indicate that adzuki beans may be more effective than other beans at preventing the spread of cancer cells in the gut, breast, ovaries and bone marrow.
• May help you live longer: Beans are naturally low in the amino acid methionine. Diets low in methionine may be linked to an increased lifespan .
• May strengthen your bones: Frequent bean intake may help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of hip fractures.
However, stronger studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Adzuki beans may provide several additional health benefits, ranging from improving bone health to helping prevent cancer cells from spreading. They are also rich in folate and may help you live longer, though more human research is needed.
How to Eat Them
Adzuki beans are very simple to prepare. Here are the main steps to follow:
1. Put the beans in a strainer and rinse under cold water.
2. Pick out all the deformed beans and stray particles.
3. Place the beans into a large pot, cover with several inches of water and soak for eight hours.
4. Drain the beans and refill the pot with at least three times more water than beans.
5. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45–60 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
6. Use the boiled beans immediately or refrigerate for use within 3–5 days. The beans will also hold in the freezer for up to eight months.
Adzuki beans can also be sprouted. To do so, place the soaked beans in a glass jar. Cover the mouth of your jar with a piece of cheesecloth secured with a string, rubber band or the lid band of a Mason jar.
Then, invert the jar and secure at an angle to let the water drain and the air circulate between the beans.
Rinse and drain the beans twice daily for 3–4 days, replacing the jar in the same position as before. Once the beans have sprouted, rinse them well and store them in a sealed jar in the fridge. Eat your sprouted beans within 2–3 days.
Adzuki beans are easy to prepare from scratch. They can be boiled or sprouted before you add them to your dish.