They are very versatile and you can use them in both sweet and savory recipes. We tell you all that this super protein-rich Asian legume can do for your health.
The legumes are healthy food to include in the diet. They are rich in vegetable protein and fiber and have a high nutritional value. If you are an unconditional fan of legumes, do not forget to include azuki in your menus, because, in addition to being perfect for both stews, salads, and desserts, it is one of the legumes that has more protein. We tell you all about the Japanese red bean.
What are azuki beans?
It seems that they began to cultivate originally Azuki in the Himalayas and then it was China and Japan who followed them in their cultivation. In Japan, this vegetable is widely used where it is almost as popular as soybeans the western name given to azuki comes from Japanese.
In traditional oriental medicine, azuki is used to maintain healthy kidneys and bladder, organs that claim to be related to fear. This means that it is a food that is traditionally also used to treat specific emotional problems or disorders whose trigger is the emotion of fear. Interesting right?
Properties and benefits of azuki beans
It is an alkalizing legume that is attributed to the power to improve the health of kidneys and urinary tract thanks to it being a diuretic food that helps eliminate excess fluid retained by the body. It is ideal to include in the diet against cystitis, edema and weight loss diets.
They contain a lot of fiber so they help the body to more easily eliminate toxins and waste substances, favoring intestinal transit and taking care of bacterial or microbiota flora.
Azuki is heart-healthy, strengthens the heart, and anti-inflammatory, thus managing to keep the body healthy and keep diseases that go with inflammation. It contains phytoestrogens that act as hormonal regulators and those that have been directly related to the prevention of breast cancer.
They are highly nutritious and have vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and vitamins of group B (except B12), in addition to folic acid and a good amount of iron, which make them a perfect food to take during pregnancy, breastfeeding or in case of anemia. To facilitate iron absorption do not forget to consume them together with foods rich in vitamin C such as green leafy vegetables, lemon juice, pepper or parsley.
Azuki is, like other legumes, a food rich in vegetable protein, but it has more quantity than other legumes, such as lentils. It is a good substitute for animal protein so you can cook them with vegetables to boost all their health benefits.
How to include azuki in your diet
It has a slightly sweet taste so it can be used in many recipes, stews, salads, pastries, even in tea!
Legumes can cause gas, bloating and discomfort so if you are going to cook them it is best to let them soak the night before along with a piece of kombu seaweed, a trick that will make the beans much more digestive. Also cooking them with a piece of kombu seaweed or adding cumin in the preparation will avoid the heaviness that legumes can cause.
You can use azuki to make soups, a stew of azuki, croquettes, ice cream, cakes … having a sweet spot is usually prepared a sweet paste called Anko, with which they fill elaborations such as mochis or rice cakes, very famous in Japan. Do you remember Doraemon and those cupcakes he devoured called dorayaki? They were stuffed with Anko.
In short, the Azuki beans are very nutritious, very versatile and give a lot of play in the kitchen. Use them replacing home vegetables in traditional elaborations or innovating experiencing new flavors, imagination to power!