Asians consume red beans as both food and medicine. Containing 21-23 percent protein, 0.3 percent fat, and 65 percent carbohydrates, red beans are considered a mild food with a sweet and slightly acidic taste. They can nourish and strengthen, especially the spleen and stomach, be diuretic and eliminate excessive water, clear pus, and promote milk flow for mothers. They are often used for congee, sweet soup, and in puree form as filling for desserts.
The goodness of red beans
Great physician Li Shizhen of the Ming Dynasty named the red bean the “valley of the heart” in praise of its benefits to the organ. It is clinically proven that red beans can improve the heart and blood condition with their coarse fiber and they help in lowering blood lipid levels, lowering blood pressure, and promoting heart function. The iron content facilitates the making of red blood cells and a stronger flow, which can help to keep your limbs warm in the cold months.
A strong spleen and stomach can help make absorption better. Those with weak digestion should eat more red beans in the fall and winter.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, excessive water in the body impedes blood and energy flow. The content of vitamin B complex, iron, protein, lipid, sugar, calcium, phosphorus, and niacin in red beans serve to clear away heat, promote urination, eliminate excess water, and detoxify the body.
As well as potassium, red bean’s saponin is strongly diuretic. Swelling of the face and feet caused by beriberi or resulting from a malfunctioning kidney can be greatly improved.
Red bean and jujube soup
Ingredients: 100 g red beans, 10 pieces of jujube, 1.5 liters of water
Method: Rinse the red beans. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Rinse the jujubes and add them to the water. Bring all to a boil. Turn down to low heat and simmer till the red beans are cooked and ready to eat.
Red bean and winter melon soup
Ingredients: 200 g red beans, 100 g winter melon, a pinch of salt
Method: Soak the red beans for half an hour. Dice the winter melon. Put both the red beans and winter melon into 1 liter of hot water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 30 minutes until the beans are cooked. Switch off and let sit for 10 minutes. Add a bit of salt and serve.
Translated by Cecilia and edited by Helen