While you may not be able to pronounce them at first glance, adzuki beans (also referred to as aduki beans) are a food to get to know NOW. They’re fantastic little beans that stand out from those you’re probably used to. If you’ve already had adzuki beans, you’re already familiar with their sweet, slightly rich flavor. They’re smaller than other beans, originating from China where they’re commonly used in desserts due to their natural sweetness, though they can also be used in savory recipes too. But their ability to act as a natural sweetening agent in everything from pancakes to ice cream, isn’t why they’re worthy of superfood status – these little beans are also packed with nutrition.
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We all know protein is important (since it seems to be the most popular nutrient with plant-based eaters.) It builds muscle, fuels brain function, and keeps your metabolism running. If you’re looking for easy to digest protein, adzuki beans are a great bean to add to your diet. Per 1/4 cup, they pack 11 grams of protein! That’s more than two eggs and two tablespoons of chia seeds! These beans are proof that getting enough protein on a plant-based diet isn’t just possible, it’s easier than you think.
Potassium regulates your heartbeat, combats bloat, and lowers your blood pressure. All beans are a great source of potassium, with adzuki beans being one of the best. Adzuki beans provide you with a nice dose of potassium, equaling 660 milligrams per 1/4 cup to be exact.
Iron intake is important for healthy blood cell function, energy, and even maintaining your weight. Adzuki beans are a great source of plant-based iron, coming in at 15 percent of your daily needs in just 1/4 cup. Don’t ignore beans, legumes, and seeds when it comes to taking care of your body. They pack lots of iron in very small servings. Leafy greens and spirulina are also a good source, so don’t leave those out either.
Easy to Digest
Finally! We have a bean that’s super easy to digest (just like chickpeas). Adzuki beans are popular with those who have sensitive bellies that can’t digest other beans such as kidney and pinto beans, which contain starches and more phytic acid, that are harder for the body to break down. For new plant-based eaters adjusting to the higher consumption of fiber-rich foods, eating beans and legumes that are easier for the body to digest can be a lifesaver. Adzuki beans are well-known for their high digestibility factor, and often recommended to those that don’t tolerate other beans.
The super nutrient you’re probably familiar with by now, magnesium does everything from regulate your heartbeat, to control your blood sugar, and even keep you regular and help you sleep. Eating magnesium-rich foods like adzuki beans can also help combat fatigue and ward off stress. Since plants are packed with magnesium and animal foods have little to none, getting enough on a plant-powered diet is hardly challenging. Adzuki beans contain 20 percent of your daily magnesium needs in just 1/4 cup.
Fiber is another super nutrient to get more of in your diet. It helps ensure your cholesterol levels stay healthy, fills you up, slows down your blood sugar to protect against diabetes, and yes, also keeps you regular. A plant-based diet packed with fiber has almost limitless benefits. Adzuki beans like all other beans and legumes, pack a nice dose of fiber coming in around 16 grams per 1/4 cup! That’s over half the daily recommended amounts (30 grams) in just one small tiny serving.
All beans and legumes can help you lose weight when you replace meat and other animal proteins in your diet with them. Adzuki beans are one of the best, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, who says their low calorie, high fiber, fat-free status, and overall low net carbohydrate content, gives them a leg up above some of the other types of beans and legumes that contain more starch and sugar. Unlike other beans, adzuki beans have no sugar per serving.
- Good source of folate ( 20 percent of your daily needs)
- Incredibly delicious use them in savory to sweet recipes
- Easy to cook with
- Can be bought canned or fresh, but if buying canned, go with organic, no salt added, BPA free beans
- Requires less soaking than other beans (1-2 hours instead of overnight)
- Versatile in your kitchen
How to Use Them:
To cook them: First, soak 1-2 hours. Drain, and rinse in cold water. Bring some water to a boil on the stove and add the beans. Boil and reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on tilted with just enough space for some steam to vent. Let them cook for an hour or just until tender with a fork. You can also eliminate the soaking time and try the slow cooker trick instead.
One you’ve got a batch prepared (or you bought them canned), use these magical beans in vegan chili, in veggie burgers, mash them into hummus to add a sweet and nutty flavor, use them in place of chickpeas since their flavor is similar, use them to make desserts that hide beans, or top your salads, quinoa, or rice with them. (They go great with wild rice, by the way.) Oprah even likes them in pancakes!
Try adzuki beans in any of our bean and legume recipes and our ideas for using beans and legumes. They’re easy to substitute for any other bean or legume. Also be sure to let us know if you have a favorite recipe with these beans. We’re always hungry for more!
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