Parkia Speciosa: health benefits

What are the health benefits of Parkia Speciosa?


Petai bean (botanical name Parkia speciosa), also known as bitter bean, stink bean, or sator bean, is a plant producing long, flat edible beans with bright green seeds.

It belongs to the legume family and is harvested from tall rainforest trees, which can grow between 15 meters and 45 meters in height.

It is a popular plant or dish in southern Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Furthermore, it is used by the people of North-Eastern India.

Nutritional Profile of Sator Beans

It is a storehouse of minerals (such as – potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, and phosphorus) and vitamins (like – vitamin A – in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 – folate, and vitamin C).

Moreover, it is a very good source of protein, low in fat and dietary fiber, and low in sugar, which makes it perfect for type 2 diabetes sufferers.

Warnings and Side Effects of Stink Beans (Parkia speciosa)

These beans are high in protein that, in the long term, can lead to adverse effects on your kidneys.

More importantly, after you eat these beans, there is a smell that doesn’t end at the meal, but it will follow you in an identical method as asparagus makes its comeback: in your urine.

However, this odor is very pervasive and can stay in the excretory system of your body and in your mouth for two to three days, which explains its nickname – stink bean.

Moreover, it is not unusual to experience flatulence and bloating as a result of gasses formed by the breakdown of the complex carbohydrates in the digestive tracts, especially if you didn’t cook the beans properly. Therefore, soaking and sprouting are recommended.

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Health Benefits of Petai Beans

Digestive Health

People eating diets high in fiber have a lower rate of constipation than people who consume a low-fiber diet, and they also have a smaller chance of developing hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

There are two types of fiber – insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is usually found in fruit pulp, grain brans, vegetable skins, and peels, plus, it does not dissolve in liquid. Insoluble fiber is associated with improved waste removal and cancer protection.

Soluble fiber is found in a variety of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, and grains and dissolves in water. It adds to your feeling of fullness, cuts LDL (bad) cholesterol, and slows the release of sugars from food into the blood.

More importantly, soluble fiber is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and obesity.

Recent studies also suggest that diets high in dietary fiber may prevent breast cancer by binding to estrogen.

Kidney Health

Potassium is an essential mineral important for the basic functions of the body.

Low levels of potassium in the diet can take a toll on both your heart and brain.

Furthermore, it plays a vital role in keeping the body well-hydrated, by working with sodium to support cellular function as part of the body’s sodium-potassium pump.

Research suggests that it can lower the risk of kidney stones that can be incredibly painful, therefore, a diet high in potassium and low in cholesterol is your best defense against kidney stones.

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Good Mental Health

It contains tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid (tryptophan is considered an essential amino acid because our bodies can’t produce it) that acts as a natural mood regulator since it has the capacity to help the body balance and produce specific hormones naturally, especially serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter hormone dubbed the “happy molecule.”

By increasing serotonin levels, the amino acid tryptophan can improve the quality of life for patients who have different mental and brain-related health issues.

Bone and Dental Health

Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life and for humans.

Among all the health benefits of calcium, the most important and vital ones include maintaining dental health and bone health, as well as the reduction of obesity and the prevention of colon cancer.

Emerging research also supports adequate calcium intake and low-fat diets as a means to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

However, too many people in the United States fall short of getting the recommended daily value of calcium.

Not receiving enough of this mineral can lead to increased brittleness of the teeth and nails, bone breakage, and overall poorer health.

Type 2 Diabetestype 2 diabetus mellitus

In traditional medicine, the juice from this plant helps in controlling type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or hypertension.

One reason may be the synergistic action of this plant’s sterols, such as stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol.

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During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you need about double the amount of iron you did before you were expecting because your physical body uses this essential mineral to make extra blood for your baby.

More importantly, pregnant women need extra iron for the placenta and growing baby, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

It is recommended to include a natural source of vitamin C (like strawberries, fresh orange juice, celery, or broccoli) with every meal, particularly when consuming plant-based sources of iron because vitamin C can help you absorb up to 6 times more of this mineral.

Hormone Balance

Our bodies will be unable to function correctly if there is not adequate phosphorus in the physical body, and it is the 2nd most abundant mineral in the body.

Phosphorus is important for normal kidney and heart functioning.

Moreover, it helps to metabolize fats and starches for energy, speeds up the healing of broken bones and other injuries as well as is essential for normal nerve impulses and for niacin assimilation.

Lastly, this mineral helps control the production and release of hormones and interacts with the endocrine glands.

How To Eat Stink Beans

These beans are widely used in the native cuisines of Southeast Asia and are part of a salad made of raw vegetables. But, the most common way to prepare stink beans is by boiling them until tender before adding them to your favorite recipes. You can also roast or fry them for added flavor. 

They are also frequently found in curry paste and combined with other foods like rice and potatoes.

If you find yourself unable to stomach the smell of cooked stink beans, then try adding some fresh herbs, such as lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves, for added flavor without overwhelming your senses.


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