Azuki Beans aren’t the first thought people have when it comes to the fast metabolism diet – and people are missing out on this delightful little bean.
Growing up, these beans featured heavily in my snacks as a sweetened paste; it’s hands down my favorite pastry filling, and would sometimes get into arguments for taking more than my share of them during afternoon snack time.
Azuki beans, also known as adzuki beans or red beans, is a type of red bean that’s a staple food item throughout East Asia and the Himalayas, where it’s known for its distinct shade and earthy, subtly sweet nutty flavor.
Many of us are most familiar with azuki beans as the main ingredient for anko, a very popular sweetened bean paste used as filling for many pastries and snacks in Japan. Variants of the paste and related snacks can also be found throughout Asia, like the red bean jam and tangyuan from China, and the danpat and patbingsu from Korea.
The bean can be cooked in other ways as well, and boasts a lovely set of nutrients in its profile. In today’s article, we’ll be covering the benefits of having azuki beans in your diet.
Let’s talk about it!
A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THE RED BEAN
The azuki bean is a legume that originated in Greater China and was exported to neighboring countries like Japan, Korea, India, and New Zealand as far back as the 9th or 10th century AD. Among the earliest records of the bean being cultivated is as a major trading crop in China, where the bean was grown along the Yangtze river valley.
For the most part, the azuki bean is used largely as an ingredient for sweets and confections, like the aforementioned anko, and as filling for dumplings and cakes. The rich color of the bean as well as its delicate sweet flavor and the difficulty of cultivating the legume (it has a much longer maturity period compared to other beans) has made the azuki bean a prized crop throughout East Asian food trading history.
HOW HEALTHY IS IT?
Among the health benefits linked to the azuki are improved heart health, weight loss, and better digestion. It’s also thought to help with lowering the risk of diabetes.
As with many beans, azuki beans are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and protein. A 100-gram serving size of cooked (unflavored) azuki beans contains 128 calories, about 7.5 grams of protein, and less that 1 gram of fat. It contains about 25 grams of carbohydrates and about 7.3 grams of fiber.
It also contains copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, vitamin B6, and zinc.
Speaking of health benefits, the high amounts of dietary fiber and protein means that the bean is good for digestion, as well as improving insulin sensitivity. Its copper, iron, and manganese nutrients also aid in keeping blood cells healthy, which is good for the heart.
WRAPPING IT UP
Azuki beans are a great source of nutrients like protein, fiber, and iron. They’re also delicately flavored and can be easily prepared. While not the most common, they are nonetheless still affordable and accessible through grocers and fresh produce markets, while related products like premade paste or dried beans can be ordered through retailers online.
Pick up a bag or two of the beans to taste this coming autumn, and discover why it’s been a well-loved favorite in the East.
Stay safe and eat healthy, everyone!
The post Itadakimasu! The Health Benefits of The Azuki Bean appeared first on The Fast Metabolism Diet Community.