Winged beans nutrition: calories, carbs, GI, protein, fiber, fats
When talking about beans, it's important to emphasize that they can benefit your health. Winged beans, for instance, are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, which have been researched to lead to reduced risk of various diseases.
In this article, we will delve into the nutritional and general characteristics of winged beans, as well as discuss their impact on health.
Table of contents
- General Information
- Glycemic Index
- Weight Loss and Diets
- Health Benefits
- Disadvantages and Risks
- Cooking and Uses
- Storage, Keeping, and Conservation
Winged bean has different names; goa bean, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, manila bean, and Mauritius bean. It is a tropical legume plant that is native to New Guinea.
Winged bean or Psophocarpus tetragonolobus belongs to the Fabaceae family and is related to pole beans.
The appearance of winged beans varies greatly. Its leaves can be elliptical, deltoid, ovate-lanceolate, lanceolate, or long-lanceolate, on long petioles up to 12cm long, with grooves on the upper side at the base, and appear in various shades of green.
These beans are called the "winged bean" due to their unique seed pods, which have prominent ridges or "wings" along their edges. These pods are long, typically around 15-22 cm (6-9 inches) in length. They are flat and wide, with four wing-like projections along the edges, giving them a square-like appearance in cross-section. The pods can range in color from green to purple.
Taste and Use
Like many pea varieties, winged beans are sweet with an asparagus flavor and a crunchy texture.
The pods have a pleasant nutty aroma and a delicious taste, while the leaves have a mild spinach flavor, and the flowers have been compared to mushrooms in terms of aroma. Choose small beans free of discoloration because the short ones are more pliable. Cooking time may increase if you get longer ones. Before using, wash and trim the hair.
One of the main reasons winged beans are not popular in the United States is the plant's specific growing requirements. Due to the special daylight requirements, Asian winged beans grown throughout most United States did not produce flowers - and thus seed pods - until recently. The variety discovered in China has proven to be light-neutral and has successfully grown in many parts.
Germination takes 7 to 21 days on average, and young shoots develop slowly for at least a month. Gardeners will have the best results if they start seeds two to three weeks before the last frost date and keep young plants inside until any chance of frost has passed (1).
Winged beans prefer friable soil types for a good yield and can grow up to 2–4 m long in hot and humid zones with short daylight.
History and Varieties
Psophocarpus is a genus of nine species, eight of which are wild. Wild species were only collected in Africa, Madagascar, and the island of Mascarene. New Guinea and Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, have many varieties and strains, indicating the epicenter of winged bean diversity. According to some researchers, it could have been of African origin.
Winged beans are widely grown in the tropics, particularly in Myanmar, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Africa, New Guinea, the West Indies, South America, and even Florida. However, it is gaining popularity worldwide due to its higher nutritional value and delicious taste (2).
The most popular winged beans are grown seasonally or left to grow in the field all year. Like many other winged bean varieties, the typical "local green" variety is a short-day plant.
Short-day plants typically produce flowers and fruits only when less than 12 hours of daylight per day. In Guam, "short days" typically last from October to March. You can find the famous “local green” short-day variety in markets from November to May.
"Long day" plants require more sunlight during the day to produce flowers and fruits.
The nutritional infographics below will focus on 100g servings of cooked mature winged bean seeds, boiled without salt.
The average serving size per person for these beans is one cup or 172g of boiled winged beans.
Macronutrients and Calories
Winged beans are dense in nutrients, consisting of 67% water and 33% nutrients. The main nutrient found in these beans is carbohydrates, making up 15%, followed by proteins, making up 11%.
Winged beans provide 147 calories per 100g serving or 244g per serving. They can be considered an average-calorie food.
Winged beans are moderate in carbohydrates, containing 15g per 100g serving. While the USDA database does not provide information about the fiber and net carb content of these beans, research finds that, on average, 55% of the carbs are dietary fiber and 45% are net carbs (3).
Winged beans are also somewhat rich in protein. They provide 10.62g of protein per 100g serving, covering 25% of the daily needed protein value.
The quality of protein found in these beans is high, as they contain some level of all of the essential amino acids. Winged beans are particularly rich in tryptophan, covering 88% of the daily required value of this amino acid per 100g serving.
On the other hand, winged beans are relatively low in methionine.
Protein quality breakdown
Winged beans are low in fats, containing 5.84g per 100g serving. Of these fats, 48% consists of monounsaturated fats, 34% is polyunsaturated fats, and 18% is saturated fats.
Fat type information
Winged beans naturally do not contain cholesterol or trans fats.
Winged beans have a high level of vitamin B1 or thiamin. They fall in the top 27% of foods as a source of this vitamin, covering 23% of the daily needed value per 100g.
These beans also contain moderate amounts of vitamin B2, folate or vitamin B9, vitamin B6, and vitamin B5. Winged beans lack fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as vitamin C and vitamin B12.
Vitamin coverage chart
Winged beans are an excellent source of many minerals. They are exceptionally high in copper, covering 86% of the daily needed amount per 100g serving and being richer in this mineral than 82% of the foods in our database.
Winged beans are also abundant in iron and manganese, covering over 50% of their required values per 100g, as well as being rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
These beans are relatively low in potassium and sodium. Unsalted winged beans provide only 13mg of sodium per 100g serving.
However, boiled salted winged beans contain 249mg of sodium (4).
Mineral coverage chart
The oxalate content of winged beans has been researched to be high, falling in the range of 340 to 597mg per 100g (3).
While an exact number has not yet been calculated for the glycemic index value of winged beans, it can assumed to be low due to the low net carb and high dietary fiber content of these beans.
Weight Loss and Diets
Eating legumes can help fill many deficiencies in your diet.
In general, beans can be an essential source of minerals and vitamins.
Winged beans can be used in weight loss diets in moderation. They are moderate in calorie count and contain no cholesterol, making them suitable for many weight-loss diets.
Winged beans can be used in a keto diet only in moderation, as they provide around 15g of carbohydrates (55% fiber and 45% net carb) per 100g. Limiting your net carb consumption to 20g - 30g per day is essential to stay in ketosis. The macronutrient ratio for keto is 70% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs.
Moreover, these beans are low in fat, the opposite of the macros required for this diet (5).
DASH stands for dietary approaches to hypertension; the ultimate goal of this diet is to lower blood pressure through food choices.
Since winged beans are a great source of potassium, they can help regulate and control fluctuations in blood pressure.
In the case of the DASH diet, you can include winged beans in your list of recommended products. The recommended dietary restrictions for the DASH Diet are 4 to 5 servings of legumes a day (6).
Atkins is a low-carbohydrate eating plan. This diet claims that you can lose weight by eating protein and fat as long as you avoid high-carb foods.
Due to the moderate amount of carbs in winged beans, it would be best to use them in moderation (7).
The Mediterranean Diet is a broad term that refers to traditional eating habits in Mediterranean countries.
This diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, beans, fish, and unsaturated fats. While there are no specific guidelines for following the Mediterranean diet, you can follow some general guidelines to incorporate the diet's principles into your daily routine, typically characterized by a low intake of meat and a high intake of olive oil.
In the case of the Mediterranean diet, you can add winged beans to the list of recommended foods (8).
The Paleo diet is based on foods that could have been eaten during the Paleolithic era (2.5 million to ten thousand years ago).
The Paleo diet recommends consuming lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seeds. This diet restricts the number of foods that became common around 10,000 years ago when agriculture began: dairy products, legumes, and grains. Winged beans can be used in the case of the Paleo diet (9).
|Vegan/ Vegetarian/ Pescetarian|
Plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are permissible on a vegan or vegetarian diet. In these diets, winged beans can be used.
Similarly, you can use winged beans in the Pescetarian diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet. It is plant-based and relies heavily on fish for animal protein (10).
Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat and triticale. Accordingly, a gluten-free diet excludes foods that contain gluten.
Winged beans and other legumes can be used in this diet (11).
The Dukan diet is characterized by consuming lean meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs.
You can add legumes to one serving per day when you reach your target weight.
Winged beans are allowed during the Cruise phase of the Dukan diet (12).
Intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat; you only eat for a specific time.
As with all foods, you can use winged beans in this diet during your meal periods but should be abstained from during fasting (13).
|Low Fat & Low Calorie||Winged beans are naturally low in fats; however, a 100g serving of these legumes provides 147 calories. Therefore, these legumes are suited for a low-fat diet but not a low-calorie diet.|
|Low Carb||You can lose weight on a low-carb diet by eating as much protein and fat as you like as long as you avoid high-carb food. As winged beans contain a moderate amount of carbs, it is better to avoid them in the case of low-carb diets (14).|
|Anti Inflammatory||Winged beans are rich in powerful antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds (including lutein, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin). Research shows flavonoid-rich food has strong anti-inflammatory effects (15).|
|BRAT||The BRAT diet has been recommended to treat stomach flu, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. The BRAT diet consists of low-protein, low-fat, and low-fiber foods that are easy to digest. Winged beans are low in fat but high in fiber and protein, so it is better to avoid them in the BRAT diet.|
This section of the article will discuss the health benefits of winged beans.
Winged beans are a source of many known antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids.
As antioxidants, phenolic compounds have anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Phenolics can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, winged beans are high in vitamin B1 (thiamin), which allows the body to use carbohydrates for energy. It is required for glucose metabolism and is essential for nerve, muscle, and heart function (16).
Consumption of calcium, along with vitamin D, may help control insulin secretion and, therefore, blood sugar levels, which prevents the onset of diabetes. Calcium is an essential component of cellular processes within insulin-responsive tissues like skeletal muscle and fat tissue (17).
Winged beans are also high in dietary fiber and relatively low in net carbs. Thus, it is assumed they have a low glycemic index value and their consumption does not raise glucose levels rapidly.
Flavonoids are secondary metabolites found in various fruits, vegetables, and legumes. They have been linked to different biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-cancer properties. Winged beans are high in flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which means that consumption of these beans may help prevent oxidative stress-related diseases (15).
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that attacks the stomach epithelium and can cause stomach cancer. According to the study, winged bean lectins can reduce the expression of these mucins and two other antigens in stomach cells and aid in cancer prevention (18).
Patients who have chronic asthma may normalize their breathing with the help of magnesium. The high magnesium content in the legume helps normalize breathing by relaxing the bronchial muscles.
Even wheezing and shortness of breath can be alleviated with intravenous magnesium.
Winged bean is an excellent choice because it contains 54mg of magnesium per 100g, 13% of the daily recommended value. These beans are ideal for people who have chronic asthma (2).
Headaches and Migraines
According to research, tryptophan can help reduce the increasing pain associated with tension headaches and migraines and severe nausea and sleep problems that many migraine sufferers experience. Increased serotonin synthesis in the brain provides natural relief from headaches and migraine symptoms such as light sensitivity, indigestion, pain, etc.
According to research, migraines were significantly reduced 5 to 8 hours after consuming a drink containing 19 different amino acids, including tryptophan. To reduce headaches and other related issues, include tryptophan-rich foods such as winged beans in your diet (19).
Eating legumes helps to strengthen the immune system, protecting the body from infection and disease.
Zinc-rich foods, such as winged beans, are frequently used as natural immune boosters. Zinc reduces the risk of catching a cold when taken for at least five months, and taking supplements when you're sick can hasten the healing process.
Studies show that zinc interferes with molecular processes that cause mucus and bacteria to build up in the nasal passages. Due to its electrical charge, ionic zinc can have an antiviral effect by attaching to receptors in nasal epithelial cells and blocking their action (20).
According to research, thiamine can help defend against vision problems like cataracts and glaucoma. It can improve muscle and nerve signaling, critical in connecting your eyes and brain. Regular consumption of winged beans can help prevent glaucoma and cataracts. Winged beans contain 0.3mg of vitamin B1, making them one of the best sources of this vitamin (21).
Disadvantages and Risks
Oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some vegetables, may crystallize as oxalate stones in some people's urinary tracts. As a result, people with oxalate urinary tract stones should avoid eating vegetables from the Brassica and Fabaceae families. As a result, adequate water intake is recommended in these individuals to maintain average urine output and reduce the risk of stone formation (22).
As mentioned above, winged beans are a high-oxalate food, providing 340 to 597mg of oxalates per 100g serving.
Overall, people who are allergic to one legume can be sensitive to other types of legumes; others may eat a variety of legumes and experience symptoms from only one or two of them.
Winged beans are considered safe for all. However, individuals with known immune allergies to legumes should avoid them.
The allergy symptoms include abdominal pain and vomiting, itching, skin redness, and hives, often around the mouth. More severe symptoms may include wheezing and anaphylaxis. Besides, in some cases, people may develop contact dermatitis - a rash when the skin comes in contact with legumes (23).
Cooking and Uses
Winged bean sprouts and shoots are green vegetables that can be eaten raw or cooked. The top three leaflet sets are the tender ones with a slightly sweet flavor. Six to ten weeks after sowing, the first green pods are usually ready for consumption; pick young stems and leaves for soups and curries and separate servings. Keep some pods for ripened dry seeds, which make a nutritious pulse. Flowers have the color and consistency of mushrooms and can be eaten raw, fried, or steamed.
Allow to air dry for a few days before cooking to make peeling easier. Wash the winged beans thoroughly in cold water and dry with a paper towel. Remove the winged beans' tip ends. Using a paring knife, cut the beans diagonally into small sections.
Storage, Keeping, and Conservation
In tropical regions, winged beans can be found in markets almost all year. Although this legume has enormous potential as an all-around nutritional solution to malnutrition problems, its cultivation is still restricted to small farms and home gardens.
Aside from the immature pods, which draw the most attention from consumers, practically every component of the bean plant is used in cooking, including crispy leaves, fragile shoots, flower petals, and underground tubers.
Avoid overripe, discolored beans because they have unappealing flesh and dry seeds.
To enjoy the natural flavor of winged beans, consume them fresh. If not, store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 4 days.
Important nutritional characteristics for Winged beans
|Glycemic index ⓘ Gi values are taken from various scientific sources. GI values less than 55 are considered as low. Values above 70 are considered as high.||32 (low)|
|Calories ⓘ Calories per 100-gram serving||147|
|Net Carbs ⓘ Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols||14.94 grams|
|Acidity (Based on PRAL) ⓘ PRAL (Potential renal acid load) is calculated using a formula. On the PRAL scale the higher the positive value, the more is the acidifying effect on the body. The lower the negative value, the higher the alkalinity of the food. 0 is neutral.||1.7 (acidic)|
|Oxalates ⓘ https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/12/17/3201||5mg|
Winged beans calories (kcal)
|Calories in 100 grams||147|
|Calories in 1 cup||253||172 g|
Winged beans Glycemic index (GI)
Mineral chart - relative view
Vitamin chart - relative view
All nutrients for Winged beans per 100g
|Nutrient||Value||DV%||In TOP % of foods||Comparison|
|Calories||147kcal||7%||60%||3.1 times more than Orange|
|Protein||10.62g||25%||43%||3.8 times more than Broccoli|
|Fats||5.84g||9%||47%||5.7 times less than Cheddar Cheese|
|Net carbs||14.94g||N/A||38%||3.6 times less than Chocolate|
|Carbs||14.94g||5%||41%||1.9 times less than Rice|
|Iron||4.33mg||54%||12%||1.7 times more than Beef|
|Calcium||142mg||14%||16%||1.1 times more than Milk|
|Potassium||280mg||8%||41%||1.9 times more than Cucumber|
|Magnesium||54mg||13%||21%||2.6 times less than Almond|
|Copper||0.77mg||86%||18%||5.4 times more than Shiitake|
|Zinc||1.44mg||13%||46%||4.4 times less than Beef|
|Phosphorus||153mg||22%||52%||1.2 times less than Chicken meat|
|Sodium||13mg||1%||84%||37.7 times less than White Bread|
|Vitamin A RAE||0µg||0%||100%|
|Vitamin B1||0.3mg||25%||27%||1.1 times more than Pea raw|
|Vitamin B2||0.13mg||10%||62%||Equal to Avocado|
|Vitamin B3||0.83mg||5%||71%||11.5 times less than Turkey meat|
|Vitamin B5||0.16mg||3%||84%||7.2 times less than Sunflower seed|
|Vitamin B6||0.05mg||4%||80%||2.5 times less than Oat|
|Folate||10µg||3%||62%||6.1 times less than Brussels sprout|
|Saturated Fat||0.83g||4%||64%||7.1 times less than Beef|
|Monounsaturated Fat||2.15g||N/A||51%||4.6 times less than Avocado|
|Polyunsaturated fat||1.55g||N/A||37%||30.4 times less than Walnut|
|Tryptophan||0.23mg||0%||59%||1.3 times less than Chicken meat|
|Threonine||0.36mg||0%||76%||2 times less than Beef|
|Isoleucine||0.45mg||0%||75%||2 times less than Salmon raw|
|Leucine||0.76mg||0%||77%||3.2 times less than Tuna|
|Lysine||0.65mg||0%||74%||1.4 times more than Tofu|
|Methionine||0.11mg||0%||82%||1.1 times more than Quinoa|
|Phenylalanine||0.44mg||0%||78%||1.5 times less than Egg|
|Valine||0.47mg||0%||77%||4.3 times less than Soybean raw|
|Histidine||0.24mg||0%||77%||3.1 times less than Turkey meat|
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NUTRITION FACTS LABEL
Serving Size ______________
Winged beans nutrition infographic
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.