What Are Adzuki Beans and How Can They Improve Your Health?

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There is a chance you haven’t heard about this remarkable plant until now, but you definitely know its bigger brother, the soybean. The adzuki (or azuki) is an Asian small bean which comes in a variety of colors, red, white, gray, black or mottled. They have been linked with a number of health benefits, for example being a natural weight loss supplement, improving digestion, lowering the risk of diabetes and managing heart problems.

Similar to most other beans, the adzuki is packed with fiber, protein, complex carbs and beneficial plant compounds. They contain up to 29 different types of antioxidants, making them one of the most antioxidant-rich foods available. These small beans will provide you with most of your daily recommended doses minerals and vitamins, mainly Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, along with plenty of B2, B6, and B9.

One of their most important interaction occurs in the gut. When friendly bacteria feed on its fibers, they create short-chain fatty acids — such as butyrate, which studies suggest might lead to the prevention of colon cancer. “Butyrate effectively inhibited IFN-γ-induced STAT1 activation, resulting in inhibition of iNOS upregulation in human colon epithelial and carcinoma cells in vitro”, concludes one of the articles.

Another study examined the effects of adzuki extract on several cancer samples and determined that it could inhibit the growth of human leukemia U937 cells. “Results suggest that azuki bean and its extract are immunopotentiating foods that can be used as a dietary supplement for cancer prevention and immunotherapy”.

Take a page from Chinese cuisine and try out some adzuki dishes. Sweet or savory, these beans will keep you satiated and healthy.