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Adzuki Beans

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Adzuki Beans Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 13.4 g
Calories: 329 kcal
Protein: 19.9 g
Carbohydrate: 62.9 g
Dietary fiber: 12.7 g
Fat: 0.5 g
Saturated fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin B1: 0.5 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 2.6 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B9: 622 μg
Vitamin A: 1 μg
Calcium: 66 mg
Iron: 5 mg
Magnesium: 127 mg
Phosphorus: 381 mg
Potassium: 1254 mg
Sodium: 5 mg
Zinc: 5 mg

These odd looking little beans have a slightly sweet and nutty flavour that makes them popular for use in dessert dishes in countries like Japan and China. They also come with a wonderful range of scientifically proven health benefits, making them a healthful choice for the store cupboard!

Adzuki beans could help prevent diabetes and manage its complications. Scientists are always testing new methods of managing diabetic complications, particularly through diet.

One such study used rats and mice that consumed a specialised diet designed for rodents. A test group also received the adzuki bean extract and this continued for eight weeks – the point of this exercise was to find out if type 2 diabetes could be prevented. In order to investigate how symptoms of type 2 diabetes could be improved, another group of older mice were fed the extract for four weeks.

The results showed that in the first group of rodents the extract had a lowering effect on things like blood glucose levels, insulin levels and total cholesterol levels; these kinds of effects were also noticed in the second group of older mice. The researchers concluded that adzuki beans have both preventative and healing effects on type 2 diabetes.

They can also help manage weight. In 2012, a study was published that examined the effects of adzuki bean extract on lipid metabolism in the blood, which is the rate at which fats are removed from the system. Four groups of rats were fed either a control diet or a high fat diet, then one of the control groups and one of the high fat groups also received adzuki bean extract. The researchers also used human fat cells to examine the effects of the adzuki bean extract.

The results showed that in the rats that had consumed adzuki extract, lipid metabolism was greatly improved in both groups. In the human fat cells, adzuki bean extract had lowered triglyceride levels and inflammation in the cells. These results show that adzuki beans are a promising natural weight management food.

Another great reason to eat them is that they can help lower cholesterol. The health effects of eating foods from the legume family have been known for a while, but a study conducted recently wanted to examine exactly what effect the consumption of adzuki beans and cowpeas would have on rats with high cholesterol.

All but one of the groups of rats had the same high cholesterol diet, the other group had a basic diet; one group also consumed adzuki beans, another consumed cowpeas, another consumed simvastatin and the other group only had the high cholesterol diet.

The results showed that the rats that had adzuki beans or cowpeas in their diet experienced a reduction in cholesterol levels, compared to eating a high cholesterol diet without them.

Finally, they could help lower blood pressure. A 2009 study examined how adzuki bean extract might affect the blood pressure of hypertensive rats. It is believed that the polyphenols that adzuki beans contain have blood pressure reducing effects. The rats were divided into two groups, both groups ate a regular diet, but one group received a supplement in the form of the adzuki bean extract.

After eight weeks, the results showed that the rats that had been receiving the supplement experienced a significant drop in blood pressure, compared to the rats that did not receive the supplement.