Winged bean facts and health benefits

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Winged bean facts and health benefits

Winged beans Quick Facts
Name: Winged beans
Scientific Name: Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
Origin Mauritius to New Guinea
Colors Green, yellow-green or purple or green with purplish- red wings and turns brown when fully ripe.
Shapes Oblong linear, straight, curved to long and flexuous, 15–30 cm long and 2.5–3.5 cm wide, with four longitudinal serratedentate
Flesh colors White
Calories 744 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Copper (582.44%)
Tryptophan (315.23%)
Iron (305.75%)
Manganese (294.43%)
Isoleucine (159.81%)
Health benefits Helps Prevent Premature Aging, Reduces Headaches and Migraines, Ensures a Healthy Pregnancy, Inflammation and Sprains, Helps Prevent Vision Problems, Weight loss, Weakness, Can Help Prevent Diabetes, Prevents Asthma, Increases Immunity and Fights Colds
More facts about Winged beans
Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), also known as Goa bean, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, Manila bean, Mauritius bean is a tropical legume plant native to New Guinea. It grows lavishly in hot, humid countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia to India, Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka. It is a climbing plant in the fabaceae family and similar in appearance and growth habit to the ordinary garden pole bean. Almost all the parts of the plant including immature pods, mature seeds, tender leaves and shoots, flowers and tubers are used in the East-Asian cuisine. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, flowers can be used in salads, tubers can be eaten raw or cooked, and seeds can be used in similar ways as the soybean. Wing beans offer an abundance of essential nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, calcium, iron and fiber due to which it is found grown throughout the world.


Winged bean is climbing, twining perennial vine, growing up to 2–4 m long and is found growing in hot, humid equatorial zone and humid tropics with short day light, good moisture and abundant rainfall. It prefers well-drained, friable soil types for good yield. It has fleshy, fusiform, tuberous roots and ridged, glabrous stem. Leaves are trifoliate on long petioles ( up to 12 cm long) grooved on the upper side and with a pulvinus at the base, color appearing as different shades of green whereas leaflets are more or less triangular or rhomboid, tapering to an acute point, base obtuse 8–15 by 4–12 cm entire and light green colored. Flowers are bisexual, papilionaceous and of varying colors pale sky blue, white, reddish brown depending on cultivars. Wing beans are available during the summer months.


Winged bean is nutrient-rich, tropical legume plant that grows well in tropical climates with warm weather, humidity and abundant rainfall. Almost all parts of the plant are palatable. Leaves can be consumed like spinach, flowers as salads, tubers are consumed raw or cooked, and seeds are prepared in similar ways as soybean. Wing bean plant produces pea-like beans with four-winged edges. Pods are oblong linear, straight, curved to long and flexuous, 15–30 cm long and 2.5–3.5 cm wide, with four longitudinal serrate dentate or sinuous leafy wings cross section, the pod is square with the four corners tapering out into the thin wings. They are green, yellow-green or purple or green with purplish- red wings and turn brown when fully ripe. It has a waxy skin and white colored flesh. Pods are best picked when young, so that the pod and beans within can be eaten. Seeds are sub globose about 0.5–1 cm across, white, yellow, brown or black, or mottled with a small aril and non-endospermous. Pods have pleasant nutty flavor and delightful taste, while leaves have a mild spinach-like flavor and the flowers’ flavor has been compared to the flavor of mushrooms. Choose small beans with no sign of discoloration. Because shorter ones are more tender. If you get the longer ones, the cooking time might also be longer. Wash and trim before using.


The genus Psophocarpus contains nine species, eight of them are wild and one, winged bean is only known in cultivation. The wild species have been collected only in Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarene Island, winged bean has an Asiatic distribution from Mauritius to New Guinea. New Guinea and Southeast Asia particularly Indonesia have many varieties and strains that point to them being the center of diversity for winged bean. Some researchers declare that it could have an African ancestry.

Winged bean is widely cultivated 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 South Florida. But nowadays it is found growing throughout the world due to its higher nutritional value and delightful taste.

Nutritional value

Apart from their pleasant nutty flavor and delightful taste, winged bean is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 182 gram of winged beans offers 5.242 mg of Copper, 24.46 mg of Iron, 6.772 mg of Manganese, 1.875 mg of Vitamin B1, 47.1 g of Total dietary Fiber, 821 mg of Phosphorus and 53.96 g of Protein. Moreover many Amino acids 1.387 g of Tryptophan, 2.146 g of Threonine, 2.672 g of Isoleucine, 4.545 g of Leucine and 3.888 g of Lysine are also found in 182 gram of winged beans.

Health benefits of Winged bean

Winged beans – also referred to as asparagus bean, Goa bean, princess pea or even the four-angle bean – is often an incredible part of a healthy, balanced diet which is also budget-friendly. The leaves, roots, stems and flowers are all edible and they’re all packed with nutrition. These nutrients include proteins, minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin A, which not just assists to nourish a healthy body but bring numerous beauty benefits, too. The health benefits of winged beans are discussed below.

1. Helps Prevent Premature Aging

Winged bean consists of considerable amount of copper which is a strong antioxidant that works in the presence of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase to safeguard the cell membranes from free radicals. Superoxide dismutase is one of the robust antioxidants that work within the body in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals attack many different organ systems, but are specifically well-researched in terms of their effect on aging, including wrinkles, age spots, and susceptibility to various types of cancer, macular degeneration, and kidney malfunctions. Having sufficient copper in your daily diet can keep you looking younger for longer! Winged beans consists of 5.242 mg of copper which is 582.44% of the daily recommended value so including winged bean is one of the best method to obtain sufficient amount of copper.

2. Reduces Headaches and Migraines

Research have discovered that tryptophan reduction deteriorates pain related with tension headaches and migraines, plus may cause serious nausea and sleep problems experienced by many migraine victims. Increased brain synthesis of serotonin seems to offer natural relief for headaches and migraine symptoms, like sensitivity to light, indigestion, pain and more.

One research conducted by the Murdoch University School of Psychology in Australia discovered that five to eight hours after consuming a drink with a complete array of 19 different amino acids, including tryptophan, symptoms of migraines were considerably reduced. So include tryptophan rich food like winged bean to reduce headache and other related problems.

3. Ensures a Healthy Pregnancy

Normally doctors recommend pregnant women to increase their intake of iron from food sources or supplements. A Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews study reports that the prenatal supplementation of iron helps lower the risk of low birth weight and avoids maternal anemia during pregnancy. Pregnant women must take 27 milligrams of iron a day. Iron supplements are best absorbed when supplemented with foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange, grapefruit, and tomato juice. Winged beans consist of 24.46 mg of iron which is 305.75% of the daily recommended value so it is best to include it in your regular diet to get sufficient amount of iron.

4. Inflammation and Sprains

Regular consumption of winged beans is one of the best ways to cure sprains and inflammation by increasing the superoxide dismutase level since it consists of considerable amount of manganese. This happens due its antioxidant properties. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) deficiency can be observed in patients with arthritis. SOD contains anti-inflammatory properties that are essential by arthritis patient’s body that help to increase the synthesis and functioning of SOD. This is useful to reduce the symptoms of the condition and give healthier life.

5. Helps Prevent Vision Problems

Research has proven that thiamine can help to defend against vision problems like cataracts and glaucoma. This is due to its ability to influence nerve and muscle signaling, which is important in relaying information from the eyes to the brain. Winged bean is one of the best sources of vitamin b1 since it has 1.875 mg of vitamin B1 which is 156.25% of the daily recommended value. So consume winged bean daily to solve all your vision problems.

6. Weight loss

Apart from aiding digestion and preventing constipation, fiber helps to adds bulk to your diet, a key factor for both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Adding bulk help you feel full sooner. Since fiber remains in the stomach longer than other foods, that feeling of fullness will stay with you much longer, helping you eat less. High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories, so by including fiber to your diet, it’s easier to cut calories. Winged bean is also one of the best sources of fiber so include it in your regular diet.

7. Weakness

Winged bean consists of ample amount of phosphorous that has the capability to remove minor health problems like muscle weakness, numbness, fatigue and other similar disorders. Normal levels of phosphorous in the body are a great way to remain fit and active. A normal amount can be around 1200 mg for adults, according to experts and from suggestions of various health practitioners. Apart from that sexual weakness can also be cured with healthy supplementation of winged beans into the body, so problems like loss of libido, frigidity, impotence, and sperm motility can be cured by having an adequate supply of phosphorus in your system.

8. Can Help Prevent Diabetes

Vitamin D and calcium when consumed together may be beneficial in optimizing glucose metabolism and helping to prevent diabetes according to several researches.  Vitamin D and calcium have direct effects on the pancreatic cells that control insulin secretion and therefore blood sugar levels. Calcium is an essential component of cellular processes that occur within insulin responsive tissues like skeletal muscle and fat tissue. Winged bean consists of 801 mg of calcium which is 80.10% of the daily recommended value.

9. Prevents Asthma

Patients that suffer from chronic asthma may be able to normalize their breathing with the help of magnesium supplements which aid in relaxing the bronchial muscles and regulating breathing. Even wheezing and breathlessness can be relieved through administration of intravenous magnesium. Winged bean is one of the best medicines for this since it contains 326 mg of magnesium which is 77.62% of the daily recommended value.

10. Increases Immunity and Fights Colds

Zinc rich food like winged bean is frequently taken as a natural over-the-counter remedy for fighting colds and symptoms of illnesses. When taken for at least five months, zinc reduce your risk of becoming sick with the common cold, plus supplementing once you already feel sick can speed up the healing process.

Research shows that zinc can interfere with the molecular process that causes mucus and bacteria to build within the nasal passages. Ionic zinc, based on its electrical charge, has the capability to exert an antiviral effect by attaching to receptors in nasal epithelial cells and blocking their effects. So winged bean must be included in your daily diet.

How to Eat

  • All the plant parts, seeds, tender, immature pods, young leaves, flowers and tubers are edible and consumed as food.
  • Tuberous roots are consumed both cooked and raw in Papua New Guinea and Myanmar.
  • Young pods at the 10–15 cm stage are eaten raw and cooked.
  • Young leaves and shoots and young pods are eaten raw or steamed as lalab and in sayor, in a side dish with rice called trantjam ketjepir made up of sliced young tender pods mixed with similarly sliced cucumber and sambal in Indonesia.
  • Young leaves are cooked and eaten as greens.
  • Young tender pods are eaten raw as ulam (vegetable salad) usually with sambal belachan in Malaysia.
  • Young pods are sliced and fried with sambal and pounded dried shrimps.
  • Ripe seeds are consumed as delicacy in pindang or eaten roasted.
  • Flowers and flower buds eaten as petjel in Java.
  • Flowers are used to color rice and pastries.
  • Ripe seeds are fried as like kacang goreng in madura.
  • Seed are rich in proteins and has similar uses to that of soya beans – edible oil, milk, tofu, bean curd, tempeh, miso etc.
  • Winged bean flour can be used as protein supplement in bread making.
  • Finely chopped beans are added in salads, stir-fries, and sambal.
  • Whole immature pods may be grilled and seasoned with oil, salt and pepper.
  • Tender leafy greens and shoots cooked in stews and stir-fries.

Other Traditional uses and benefits of Winged bean

  • Leaves were used in a compound lotion for small pox in Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Root as poultice to cure vertigo in Myanmar.
  • Pods and the edible tubers are considered roborant (tonic) in New Guinea.
  • Leaves and seed are eaten to cure skin sores such as boils and ulcers.

Other facts

  • Winged bean is occasionally planted as an ornamental because of its attractive flowers.
  • Whole plant as well as processed seeds is good animal feed.
  • The cake left after extraction of oil from the seeds can be used for stock-feed.

Recipe of Winged bean

1. Grilled Winged Beans With Miso Dipping Sauce


Miso Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup shiro-miso (white miso)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet sake)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and minced

Winged Bean Preparation

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 pound winged beans
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the shiro-miso (usually present in refrigerated cases at natural food stores), mirin and rice vinegar until smooth. Add some sesame and vegetable oils, ginger and scallion; stir till well mixed. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable and sesame oil. Lightly brush the winged beans using the combined oils. Sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to 400 degrees (medium high). Put the vegetables crosswise directly on the grill grate. Grill, turning frequently until just crisp, about 3 minutes. Serve the grilled winged beans together with the miso dipping sauce on the side.

2. Stir-Fried Winged Beans (Kacang Botol) with Tomato and Garlic

Fried Wing Beans






  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • dried red chiles, to taste
  • 1 pound winged beans (kacang botol), cut into bite-sized lengths
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  1. Heat a wok or perhaps your largest skillet over maximum heat. Add the oil, and when it is shimering, add some garlic and chilis. Stir-fry for ten seconds, without burning, and immediately add some winged beans and salt.
  2. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, till the beans brighten in color.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry about 30 more seconds, before the tomatoes just slightly begin to break down and form a sauce. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir within the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

3. Sauteed Winged Beans
Sauteed Winged Beans





  • 1 lb winged beans or green beans, cleaned, ends trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce (I used low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • black pepper and salt to taste


  1. Saute garlic over medium heat, until lightly browned. Add beans, soy sauce and oyster sauce and mix. Cover pan along with lid and cook over medium heat until beans are tender although not mushy, about 5-6 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Hot and Spicy Winged Beans

Hot and Spicy Winged Beans






  • 15 winged beans (cut into small sections)


  • 1/2 tbsp chili sauce – suitable for vegetarians
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetarian belacan powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar


  1. Heat oil, saute vegetarian belacan powder as well as chili sauce until fragrant.
  2. Add winged beans, salt and sugar; stir evenly and briefly cover the pan.
  3. Add water and quickly cover the pan again.
  4. Saute till fragrant, dish out and serve.

5. Fried Wing Beans


  • 10 wing beans, sliced sideways into 1cm length
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and sliced (might be replaced along with 1 rounded teaspoon sambal belacan)
  • 2 tablespoon dried prawns, soaked and chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ½ tablespoon light soya sauce
  • 100 ml hot water


  1. Heat oil. Stir-fry the dried prawns till somewhat brown & fragrant.
  2. Add the minced garlic and stir-fry for 20 secs.
  3. Toss in the wing beans and sliced chilles. Stir-fry for 1 min.
  4. Add add hot water and light soya sauce to taste and continue to stir-fry quickly for 15secs (this is to keep the beans crunchy).
  5. Dish up and serve hot with steamed rice.

6. Ginisang Sigarilyas

 Ginisang Sigarilyas






  • 1 bunch winged beans(sigarilyas), sliced
  • 300 grams chicken fillet or pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fermented fish sauce (bagoong na isda)
  • 1 cup water or chicken/pork stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a pan, heat oil and saute garlic and onion.
  2. Add chicken fillet and stir cook till brown then season along with bagoong and pepper.
  3. Pour water and bring to boil then add sigarilyas.
  4. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until cook then adjust seasoning in accordance with taste.
  5. Remove from heat then serve with steamed rice. Enjoy.


However, there aren’t any reports of any kind of post-harvest illness, studies have revealed that the plant species is extremely prone to various fungal, viral, bacterial and nematode diseases. Aside from this, there’s also a high possibility of contamination of stock by mold fungi.






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