Health Benefits Of Adzuki Beans That Might Surprise You

Health benefits of adzuki beans.

Popularly boiled with sugar and mashed into a sweet red bean paste that is then used in Asian desserts like mochi, soup, and shaved ice – adzuki beans are nothing if not fun to cook with. Often confused with kidney beans, these beans are smaller and taste sweet and nutty. They also pack in the nutrition. Here are a few health benefits that they provide.

1. Aid Weight Loss

[pullquote]Adzuki bean was domesticated 12,000 years ago in China. It is one of the most important pulses grown in Asia. There, it is known as the “weight loss bean” because of its low-calorie, low-fat content as well as its high protein content.1[/pullquote]


If you’re on a diet, adzuki beans will help you achieve your weight-loss goals. There is evidence to suggest that certain compounds found in adzuki beans may increase the expression of genes which decrease hunger and increase feelings of fullness. A few studies conducted on animals have also found that adzuki bean extracts aid weight loss.

In addition to this, beans are rich in protein and fiber. A cup provides 39.14 grams of the former and 25 grams of the latter.2 Both of these macronutrients have been found to reduce hunger and increase fullness, potentially leading to weight loss. Not surprisingly, in one 6-week study, participants who consumed at least 1/2 cup of legumes per day lost 6.4 additional pounds as compared to those that didn’t consume any legumes.3 4 5 What’s more, a recent review of several controlled studies found that consuming beans regularly lowers weight and body fat.6 7 8 9


2. Promote Healthy Digestion

[pullquote]While most people can digest beans with no issues, it could cause digestive upset in some people. This is especially true for people who struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. If you notice any digestive issues after consuming adzuki beans, consult a professional.[/pullquote]

If you have a weak stomach or struggle with digestion-related problems in general, adzuki beans might help. Beans are particularly rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch and these fibers pass through the gut they reach the colon. In the colon, they serve as food for your good gut bacteria and when these feed on the fibers, they create short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which have been linked to a healthier gut as well as a reduced risk of colon cancer.10 11 12 In addition to this, studies conducted on animals have found that the highest antioxidant content of beans may reduce inflammation in the gut. Keeping up with their intake can help keep your digestive system healthy.13 14 15


3. Manage Blood Sugar Levels

[pullquote]Consuming beans regularly may strengthen bones and reduce the risk of hip fractures.16 17[/pullquote]

If you’ve been trying to manage your blood sugar levels or prevent type-2 diabetes, adzuki beans are your new best friend. Studies have found that the fiber in them improves insulin sensitivity and prevents blood sugar spikes after meals. In addition to this, several studies conducted in test-tubes and on animals report that the protein found in adzuki beans may block the action of intestinal alpha-glucosidases, which is an enzyme that’s needed to break down complex carbs into smaller, more easily absorbable sugars. In doing so, the protein may reduce blood sugar spikes, an effect that’s similar to that of diabetes medications.18 19 20 21 22 23 24


Adzuki beans are also rich in antioxidants, which have been found to have an anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetes effect. They are also easier to digest in comparison to other legumes and have a low glycemic index of 10 makes them an optimal choice for people who have diabetes or blood sugar management issues.25 26 27

4. May Improve Heart Health

[pullquote]Beans are naturally low in the amino acid methionine and diets low in methionine have been linked to an increased lifespan.28 29[/pullquote]


Eating adzuki beans regularly may keep your heart healthy. Few test-tube and animal studies have found that adzuki bean extracts lower blood pressure. It also lowered triglyceride, total, and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.30 31 Fat accumulation was also found to be lower in the liver. Human studies, meanwhile, have also found that consistently consuming legumes lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.32 33 In one such study, women given adzuki bean juice for one menstrual cycle found that their blood triglycerides reduced by 15.4–17.9% while women who didn’t have the juice noticed an increase in the levels.34 In addition to this, further studies report that diets rich in beans lower the risk of heart disease, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.35 36 Besides, this heart-healthy effect of legumes, including adzuki beans, may be due to their rich fiber content, as well as their antioxidants and other plant compounds.37

5. Reduce Pregnancy-Related Complications

[pullquote]Adzuki beans have antinutrients, which may prevent certain minerals from being absorbed. Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting them prior to eating are good ways to reduce antinutrient levels and make the beans easier to digest.[/pullquote]


Folate is an important nutrient for pregnant women. It is considered critical for preventing congenital disabilities. In fact, keeping up with the required folate intake has been shown to cut the chances of early delivery by 50% or more if consumed for at least a year before pregnancy. It has also been found to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.38  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day during their childbearing years and a cup of adzuki beans provides almost 306.25% of the required folate needs for a day.39

6. May Manage The Symptoms Of Iron-Deficiency Anemia

[pullquote]In Japan, adzuki bean soups are often consumed after menstruation to replenish red blood cells.40[/pullquote]


In traditional Chinese medicine, adzuki beans are hailed for their “strengthening” qualities. This could be because they’re packed with iron and a cup provides 9.81 mg of the nutrient, which makes up for 57.70% of the recommended daily intake. 41 This high iron content makes them a good choice while battling iron-deficiency anemia and menstrual disorders.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, aduki beans are known for their “strengthening” qualities and yang energy. They are packed with iron and can help resolve iron deficiency anemia. The high iron content also makes them a good choice for women’s health. For instance, in Japan, aduki bean soups are often consumed after menstruation to replenish red blood cells.42

7. May Prevent Cancer

[pullquote]Experts recommend that you consume about 1.5 cups of beans every week.43[/pullquote]

A few test tube studies have found that adzuki beans may be more effective than other beans at preventing the proliferation of cancer cells in the gut, breast, ovaries, and bone marrow.44 45