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You Ask, I Answer: Adzuki Beans

imageI’ve been vegetarian for almost four years, but moved to New York City last Fall.  I’ve suddenly come across new foods I had never heard of before.

One of my favorite restaurants here serves a dish with adzuki beans.

They taste great, but I know nothing about them.  I hadn’t heard of them before until I saw them on this menu.

Are they nutritionally equivalent to all other beans?

– Claire Klein
New York, NY

Despite their Chinese origins, adzuki beans are super popular in Japan, where they are most commonly made into red bean paste after having generous amounts of sugar added on!

That’s right — if you’ve ever had red bean ice cream at a Japanese restaurant or a red bean bun at a Chinese restaurant, you’ve tasted adzuki beans.

The healthiest way to eat them, of course, is “as is”.  I personally love to add them to a side dish of brown basmati or brown jasmine rice.

Not only do adzuki beans deliver high amounts of folate, potassium, magnesium and zinc — they are also a wonderful source of lean protein.

Another bonus?  Their fiber content is mainly made up of soluble fiber — the kind of fiber that helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and helps us feel fuller faster.

Their bright red color holds another powerful secret — polyphenols!  Clinical studies have shown that adzuki’s polyphenols have powerful antioxidant properties and that adzuki beans offer more polyphenols than kidney beans, and soybeans!

Most conventional supermarkets do not carry adzuki beans.  However, if you have any health food stores or Asian food markets in your area, you will surely find them.

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One Comment

  1. Christine said on January 11th, 2010

    my mom used to make a dessert soup with adzuki beans. it was basically sugar, adzuki beans, tapioca balls, flavoring (osmanthus jelly or tangerine/vanilla), bananas and apples (fruit added last, so they wouldn’t get too mushy). it was my favorite growing up!

    it’s weird, but in china so many desserts involve beans or rice or sesame seeds. we have a whole different concept of dessert than americans… i tried showing my bf and he was like, ‘…wait, beans? for dessert? wtf?!”

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