Miracle beans

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Soy, green, black, and red beans on display at a shop selling home-made bá»™t ngũ cốc - a mixture powder of black sesame and four different types of beans - on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City

My husband has always been thin. But a few months ago it became more noticeable than ever. One night we met up with a friend who was shocked to see us.

"You and your husband look so tired and unhealthy!" he said.

He went on to tell us about something called ngũ cốc, which he had been drinking for 30 years. In his student days he had also been very thin, he told us. A relative told him to drink ngũ cốc, a mixture of milk, black sesame, and black, soy, red, and green beans.

"After drinking it I felt healthy and more energetic. My skin became smooth and even now, at 50, my hair is still black."

He urged us to try it, so I started making it for both my husband and myself.

The ingredients are available at any market or supermarket. To make ngũ cốc: take 200g of each bean and wash separately; leave everything out in the sun to dry; fry each bean separately until their fragrance turns pungent. Use one bean as a tester to ensure the others not overdone or undercooked. When the beans turn a light brown and omit a sweet fragrance, take them out of the pan. Let them cool and then mix all five beans together in a blender. Grind the mixture twice or until the solution becomes smooth. Then let the mixture cool and store in a jar for gradual usage.

To make a glass of ngũ cốc: boil water; allow one third of it to cool; fill a glass one third full with the cool cooked water; add two or three spoons of the mixture and stir steadily. Finally, fill the remainder of the glass with (still hot) boiled water and stir once more. To sweeten the drink, add one coffee-spoon of sugar, or milk or a spoonful of honey.

My husband and I drank the solution everyday for two months. After just one week, we both started noticing the difference. We felt better and more energized.

Additionally, the five beans may be combined with ground gạo lức (brown unmilled rice) to make a porridge ideal for children or the elderly, who cannot digest rice properly. To make ngũ cốc porridge, grind the five beans and brown unmilled rice together and boil.

Scientific research has documented the health benefits of including the five beans and brown unmilled rice into one's diet.

The five beans are rich in vitamins B and P, which help fights oxidation process, dermatitis and other skin diseases, by keeping the skin clean and moisturized. In addition, Vitamin B stabilizes the body's organs. In 100g of dry red bean, there are 60.9g of sugars, 20.9g of protein, 4.8g of fiber, as well as beneficial fatty acids, calcium, phosphor, iron and nicotinic acid.

The fibrous content with the five beans decreases risks of coronary thrombosis. They also decrease LDL - cholesterol and triglycerides (which inhibit the cardiovascular system) and lower the possibility of diabetes.

According to traditional medicine, black sesame, which is sweet, strengthens the bloodstream and eyes. They also reduce swelling, burns and cures constipation. The Vitamin E content of black sesame not only protects and renews skin tissue, it strengthens the immune system.

According to American nutritional expert Justine Gayer, soybeans contain protein, lipid, glucid, calcium, Fe, Mg, P, K, Na, S; vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E, F, enzymes and essential amino acids, such as glutamine and arginine. Soybeans aid digestion and contain minerals that balance the cellular system. Soybeans alone constitute a complete protein. They also reduce LDL-cholesterol (known as the bad cholesterol), decrease blood sugar, and lessen one's risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to the nutritional expert.

According to local herbalist Nguyen Ngoc Sang, red beans can be used as a diuretic or to treat dysentery; they lower bad cholesterol, tonify the blood, reduce kidney inflammation, cirrhosis and jaundice. Red beans also keep the body cool and fight harmful bacterium.

The green beans, sweet in flavor and with cooling properties, contain sufficient calcium to cool the body, specifically the liver, detoxify the digestive system (to help prevent food poisoning), lower high blood pressure and the likelihood of developing boils.

A 100g of black beans contain 24.4g of protein as well as a host of other vital nutrients and vitamins. Black beans also possess essential amino acids. Black beans are sweet in flavor and with cooling properties, tonify to the kidneys and blood, detoxify and are antioxidants (which strengthen the immune system), and reduce headaches, backaches and fever, according to the traditional eastern medicine.

FOLLOWING HEART AND CREATING HEALTH

I was invited to visit the shop where Nguyen Van Sau roasts and grinds green, black, red and soy beans and sesame to sell to his customers. Sau, 83, has been roasting and grinding beans at home for over 30 years. He told me that seeing so many poor people including malnourished children motivated him to help.

Therefore, he began to study scientific data on beans and tried to make a beverage from them for children. He visited a nutrition center to ask for more information about beans' contents and the right way to process the mixture to make the bean beverage.

"To make the beans, you must have a good heart," Sau said. He follows his heart, not profits. His adult children don't want him to continue in this fashion, selling his beans to customers for the lowest possible cost. But Sau works selflessly, purely out of his love for poor people.

To clean black sesames, Sau pan-sands them and dusts them before exposing the seeds to the sun in a clean and airy place. Then they are roasted. The other beans are prepared in this way and then put into a variety of jars. His customers buy directly from his home, or place orders over the phone.

He and his wife have been drinking the mixture for more than 30 years. He confides that his wife has a rosy complexion, which of course, he credits to his miracle beans.

Sau's shop is located at 565 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Ward 15, District 10, HCMC. You can place order by calling him at (08) 3 862 9594.

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