Vigna umbellata (Thunb.) Ohwi and Ohashi, previously Phaseolus calcaratus, is a warm-season annual vine legume with yellow flowers and small edible beans. It is commonly called ricebean or rice bean. To date, it is little known, little researched and little exploited. It is regarded as a minor food and fodder crop and is often grown as intercrop or mixed crop with maize (Zea mays),sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) or cowpea (V. unguiculata), as well as a sole crop in the uplands, on a very limited area. Like the other Asiatic Vigna species, ricebean is a fairly short-lived warm-season annual. Grown mainly as a dried pulse, it is also important as a fodder, a green manure and a vegetable. Ricebean is most widely grown as an intercrop, particularly of maize, throughout Indo-China and extending into southern China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. In the past it was widely grown as lowland crop on residual soil water after the harvest of long-season rice, but it has been displaced to a great extent where shorter duration rice varieties are grown. Ricebean grows well on a range of soils. It establishes rapidly and has the potential to produce large amounts of nutritious animal fodder and high quality grain.
When you’re facing digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea, it can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing problem. Dietary fiber is one of the best solutions for a wide range of stomach issues, as it can help to absorb water and loosen up the stool, bulking up your bowel movements and stimulating peristaltic motion. It can also improve the efficiency of your digestion. Most importantly, cowpeas are a rich source of fiber in anyone’s daily diet.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) has recently gotten some great attention for its role in protecting heart health. It can actively prevent heart failure and largely control the ventricles of the heart. Furthermore, various flavonoids are found within cowpeas that can reduce inflammation and promote more normal heart function. Dietary fiber also plays a particular role in the balance of cholesterol in the body, which can prevent heart attacks and strokes, as well as the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Detoxification: The antioxidant effects of cowpeas are of particular interest to the natural health community, because cowpeas are being increasingly linked to lower levels of chronic illness and cancer. The antioxidants found in these legumes seek out and neutralize free radicals within the body, which cause chronic illness and cellular mutation. The Vitamin C and A alone that is found in cowpeas is enough to give the body a major detoxifying boost to protect the immune system.
Most people don’t think about tryptophan unless they’re eating Thanksgiving dinner, but there are significant levels of tryptophan in cowpeas, which can help the body relax and ease into better sleep patterns. If you suffer from restlessness at night or insomnia, consider adding a spoonful of cowpea bean salad before you go to bed so you can wake up feeling refreshed!
Magnesium is a very important mineral that is often overlooked. However, magnesium plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, and can help the body maintain balanced levels of blood sugar, regardless of what food you’re eating. Magnesium can be found in high levels within cowpeas, and also contributes to better bone health and sleep patterns.
Cowpeas have long been used as a treatment for anemia, an iron deficiency in the body that results in weakness, cognitive confusion, stomach aches, fatigue and poor overall metabolic function. The high levels of iron found in cowpeas are an excellent way to counter the effects of anemia, while also promoting good circulation. Iron is necessary in the production of red blood cells, so an iron surplus will provide more oxygenated blood to the organs, thus promoting better function, faster healing, and higher energy levels.
These beans are very low in calories and cholesterol, which is always a benefit to weight loss, but the dietary fiber also helps in more important ways. It not only optimizes digestion to make sure that you are absorbing nutrients, rather than storing fat or waste in your body, but it also makes you feel full for longer. One of the biggest problems with weight loss programs is overeating on “cheat days” or snacking between meals. With a high-fiber diet in place, you can achieve your weight loss goals much more quickly.
The impressive levels of antioxidant compounds found in cowpeas, as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, and protein, makes it excellent for improving the appearance and health of your skin. The antioxidants eliminate signs of aging, soothe irritation, heal scars and protect the skin against the effects of UV radiation, while protein helps stimulate cellular repair and the growth of new tissues. Believe it or not, these little legumes can help you look and feel your best.