10 Benefits of Red Beans and Recipes with It

One of the main properties of azuki beans is its rich composition in proteins. In addition to protein, it is also a source of iron , zinc, calcium, potassium and magnesium, so it is indicated to strengthen immunity .

Two other important components in the reddish colored grain are resistant starch and fiber. In the body, these two substances act in a similar way, contributing to digestion and bowel health.

However, even with all these benefits, red beans are still not very popular in Brazil. Despite this, there are eastern countries that use it from the traditional way to making sweets.

It is also possible to make vegan recipes with this ingredient, such as a vegetable hamburger. So, at the same time you try a new dish, you are taking care of your health and increasing your longevity.

What are the 10 benefits of azuki beans?

All beans are considered antioxidants , but the darker ones like black, red and brown are the ones that most protect cells against oxidation. In addition, azuki is also rich in several vitamins such as C, K, E and B6. ( 1 , 2 )

1. Improves digestion and protects the intestine

The fiber and resistant starch present in the food are not digested but serve to facilitate the digestion process and, in breaking, favoring the intestinal health.

What actually happens is that these substances help in the formation of fecal cake, facilitating the elimination of feces and preventing constipation. Diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and colon cancer are diseases that can also be avoided with the aid of this grain.

Another important detail, this time related to resistant starch, is that the very name of the substance indicates its main characteristic: it is resistant to digestion. For this reason, its fermentation is slow and does not cause the common discomfort of gas production . ( 1 , 3 )

2. Helps in the treatment of diabetes

The glycemic index (GI) of red beans is also influenced by starch and fiber. For you to understand better, it is important to know that the lower the GI of foods, the lower their glycemic responses in the body and, consequently, less insulin will be released into the blood.

This cycle is especially beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes, who may even have a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD).

Therefore, these substances are able to lower the glycemic index of the grain. To give you an idea, brown rice – a beneficial food for diabetics – has a GI of 50, while beans range from 29 to 38. ( 1 , 3 )

3. Decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease

Again, fibers work for the benefit of health, as they can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (LDL), without interfering with the levels of the good type (HDL).

With this effect, it is possible to prevent the accumulation of fat in blood vessels, preventing the formation of inflammation and the development of cardiovascular diseases. ( 1 , 3 )

4. Lose weight

Resistant starch has two faces and can be a soluble or insoluble type of fiber. But this difference is doubly beneficial for those who want to lose weight with health.

While the insoluble part carries molecules of fat and sugar that will be slowly absorbed by the body, the soluble type is responsible for providing more satiety , reducing the feeling of hunger for a long time.

In fact, a study published in Advances in Nutrition, in 2010, explains that appetite regulation may also be related to the low glycemic index of meals. ( 1 , 3 , 4 )

5. Helps reduce cancer risk

As mentioned at the beginning of the topic, the various types of beans have the antioxidant property. This means that they can protect cells against the action of free radicals, unstable molecules that act in excess with the objective of destroying cell units.

The process of cell oxidation is often the cause of degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer itself.

In the latter case, the benefit is especially perceived in the prevention of prostate, stomach and colon cancer . The effect is so evident that some studies point to the bean as a chemopreventive agent. ( 1 , 2 , 5 )

6. Fights and prevents anemia

“Eat beans to get strong!”, this must be the most common phrase that children hear from their parents and guardians. And isn’t popular wisdom correct?

The iron content found in the food in question helps in the prevention and treatment of anemia . In addition, the presence of vitamin C increases the bioavailability and absorption of this mineral in the body. ( 1 , 6 )

7. Strengthens muscles

Because it is rich in protein, the grain is necessary to ensure the growth,
construction and repair of the body’s cells, including those that make up muscles. For this reason, many athletes and gym goers invest in a lot of protein in their daily diet. ( 1 , 7 )

8. Aids in bone formation

In addition to having calcium in its composition, which already contributes to the formation and maintenance of bones , azuki beans also have proteins to increase the retention of this mineral in the body. ( 6 )

9. Contributes to vegetarian and vegan food

Talking about proteins, it is important to highlight that they are divided according to their sources, whether animal or vegetable. In the case of vegetarians and vegans, people who do not consume anything of animal origin, the grain serves as a “ substitute” for meat, chicken, fish , eggs and milk. ( 1 )

10. Increase in life expectancy

Given so many nutrients and benefits, it is possible to affirm that the consumption of red beans is a way to increase life expectancy, protecting and/or treating diseases that can increase the risk of mortality. ( 1 )

How to make?

Before cooking the beans, it is recommended to soak them for up to 24 hours (changing the water every six hours).

In addition to reducing cooking time, this process also helps to reduce or eliminate compounds that reduce the digestibility of some foods and cause flatulence. ( 8 )

After this procedure, strain the beans and put them to cook with a fresh batch of water. In a pressure cooker, the estimated time is a maximum of 20 minutes . But remember, if it soaks too long, it will cook faster.

Once cooked, you can season it any way you like using parsley, parsley, onion, tomato, peppers, salt and the spices of your choice. It is important to note that the more natural the additional ingredient, the healthier the beans will be.

When it’s finished, you can enjoy the broth as an aperitif or use the beans in the composition of a meal. In the latter case, a good companion would be brown rice.

However, there are other recipes that use azuki as a protagonist. Learn some of them!

Red bean burger


  • 500  grams  cooked red beans
  • 150 gramas cenoura
  • 1/4 cup of cassava flour
  •  tablespoons  flaxseed flour
  •  cloves of garlic
  •  bunch of cilantro
  • 1 red  onion
  •  teaspoon of  cumin
  •  tablespoon  oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation mode

Mash the carrots, garlic and onion. Then mix the beans and grind again until it becomes a homogeneous mass.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix to grind once more. Form the hamburgers and put them to bake in a 180ºC oven for 20 minutes. After that time, the snack will be ready! ( 9 )


That’s right, you didn’t read it wrong, it’s sweet beans! This red grain already has a slightly sweet taste, but the eastern ones decided to increase it and make a sweet paste of this food. The name given is anko and you learn step by step with Vitor Hugo from the Prato Fundo channel:

red bean salad


  • ½ cup (of tea) of cooked azuki beans
  • 1 cup (of tea) of cherry tomatoes
  • ½ japanese cucumber
  • 1 cup (of tea) of cooked quinoa (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

Preparation mode

Cut the tomatoes and cucumber. Then mix the vegetables with the beans and quinoa. Mix the oil, vinegar, parsley, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Then pour this dressing over the salad and serve afterwards. ( 10 )



  • 3 big eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup and ½ of almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup of cooked and mashed red beans
  • Coconut oil spray for cooking

Preparation mode

Start by mixing the eggs, coconut water and honey in a large bowl. Then add almond flour, cinnamon , baking soda and salt. Finish by mixing the mashed beans.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, spray coconut oil in the pan and add a tablespoon of the dough. Let it bake until the edges are crispy and with a spatula, turn the pancake over. Repeat the process until the dough is finished. Serve right away. ( 11 )

Where to buy red beans?

This protein bean can be found in some supermarkets and open markets , as well as physical and online health food stores. However, the price is usually higher than the other types, due to their low popularity in Brazil.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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