Jiroemon Kimura the man who lived longer than any other man in recorded history attributed his robust health to waking early in the day, watching his food portion sizes (a regular breakfast of rice porridge and miso soup), reading the newspapers and watching parliamentary debates on TV.
There may be something special about those red beans with rice. “For his last birthday, he dined on grilled fish, steamed rice and red beans, a Japanese tradition on special occasions.” – (link)
I think Mr. Kimura was eating Sekihan (Japanese Azuki Beans & Rice). Was he growing his own food? He retired in 1962 at age 65 after 40 years as a postman and was then a farmer until age 90.
Azuki beans are a good source for a variety of minerals. They are rich in soluble fiber which lowers bad LDL cholesterol, low in calories and fat, they have healing properties for kidney, bladder and reproductive functions. The bean has diuretic effect to strengthen kidneys and may act an effective cure for urinary dysfunction and bladder infections. The presence of plant estrogens in these beans has been credited in breast cancer prevention by reducing body estrogen levels. The beans are high in protein (~25%) and easy to digest.
Azuki beans, 1 cup (230g) (cooked, boiled)
Total Fat: 0.23g
4.6 mg of Iron (~25% RDI)
119.6 mg of magnesium (~30% RDI)
1.223 g of potassium (~25 % AI)
4.0 mg of zinc (~25% RDI)
278 µg of folic acid (~70% RDI).
I’m going to try to grow some here in California. I was glad to hear that they are somewhat drought resistant.
Climatic requirements. Seeds do well during frost-free periods, with cool nights. The plant is reported to be somewhat drought resistant. Adzuki beans have similar requirements to soybeans or drybeans.
Propagation and care. Adzuki is a short-day plant that does not grow well in waterlogged soil. Information from the University of Minnesota recommends treating the seeds for fungi, insects and bacteria before planting. Adzuki beans emerge more slowly when the soil is 50 to 55�F. In Minnesota, the best planting time is between May and June. A good plant population is 105,000 plants per acre (25-35 pounds of seed). Plant seeds in rich, loamy soil, to 1 inch deep. Plants should stand 2 to 3 inches apart. Recommended row spacing varies from 12 to 18 inches, or 18 to 30 inches. Neutral to alkaline soil is required for maximum N fixation, and a medium to high soil test level of P and K should ensure adequate fertility levels and the best crop yield. Fertilize seedlings when they are 4 to 5 inches high and again when the flowers start to form pods. Moisture should be ample and at a consistent level. Uneven ripening is characteristic of adzuki beans. Expect mature pods, brownish in color, with slightly yellow and completely green pods on the same plant. Adzuki beans will fix nitrogen but require innoculation with a Rhizobium strain specific to this crop.
White mold, bacterial stem rot, and other bean diseases may affect adzuki beans. A good rotation program, furrow rather than overhead irrigation, use of disease-free seed and a spray program can help prevent these diseases. Most adzuki varieties are susceptible to a number of aphid borne viruses that attack legumes, including curly top virus.
Harvest and postharvest practices. To harvest as green beans, pick the adzuki pods when the beans are faintly outlined in the pod. Picking every 5 to 6 days is usually sufficient. In California Adzuki beans will mature in less thatn 120 days for use as dry beans.
Growers can cut and windrow adzukis in the morning to allow drydown and combine later in the day, or direct combine the beans with a grain header or row crop headers. Pods shatter very easily, especially if the harvest is delayed until late in the season or the day. To decrease losses, use slower speeds, open the concaves, and harvest only during appropriate hours. The entire plant, including dry pods, can be harvested and stacked in a dry, well-ventilated place for drying. Complete drying occurs a week or two after harvesting. After drying, shell the beans and store in refrigerated, air-tight containers.
Pest and weed problems. Adzuki beans compete poorly against weeds. Seed quality is critical to early vigor. Choose a location with light weed pressure and rotary hoe 7 to 10 days after planting. Cultivate the beans when the primary leaves are fully developed, and if necessary, 10 to 20 days later. …
Another important tip seems to be this: eat less!
So what does the world’s oldest man eat? The answer is not much, at least not too much. Walter Breuning, who turned 113 on Monday, eats just two meals a day and has done so for the past 35 years. “I think you should push back from the table when you’re still hungry,” Breuning said. At 5 foot 8, (“I shrunk a little,” he admitted) and 125 pounds, Breuning limits himself to a big breakfast and lunch every day and no supper. “I have weighed the same for about 35 years,” Breuning said. “Well, that’s the way it should be.” “You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.” – link
I love food too much. Would you rather eat all you want and be happy and comfortable … and die 20 years earlier? There is no solid evidence yet in primates that reducing calories will make you live longer, but there are hints. Azuki beans, which are low in calories, make it easier to accomplish calorie restriction with adequate nutrition (CRAN) because they give healthy levels of protein, vitamins and minerals. Do they taste good?