Tuesday, June 27, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Lima beans are the large, kidney-shaped, edible seeds of the Phaseolus lunatus plant. Though also known by the name “butter bean”, certain regions use the name to designate a smaller variety of this legume. Being easy to cultivate has made lime beans an excellent and important sustenance crop for the indigenous people of Central America for thousands of years. The beans’ ability to retain their complete nutritional profile during the canning process has only added to their global popularity.
Though lima beans are relatively calorie-dense, they’re an excellent source of plant-based protein: 100 g of these legumes can provide 21.46 g or 38 percent of the daily recommended protein intake.
Apart from the impressive amounts of protein, lima beans are packed with a variety of nutrients that make them a great addition to almost any diet:
Whether fresh or dried, lima beans can provide a substantial contribution of dietary fiber; specifically, 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance with every 100 g of lima beans. This abundance of dietary fiber, coupled with the high amounts of magnesium and vitamin B9, make these legumes one of the best foods for preventing cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks.
Lima beans are useful against other health ailments too, particularly:
Lima beans are a low-acid or alkaline food, it can therefore aid in neutralizing the body’s acidic condition and balance its pH levels. A high degree of body acidity can bring about multiple health problems, including chronic pain and inflammation.
Because lima beans are dense with vitamin B9, pregnant mothers are encouraged to add lima beans to their diet. Vitamin B9 reduces the risk of neural tube defects in newborns.
Lima beans are loaded with iron. This mineral encourages the production of healthy red blood cells, thereby making lima beans one of the best foods for a robust circulatory system. Moreover, this abundance of iron means that lima beans can prevent the development of anemia or iron deficiency.
Another way lima beans help out the heart is with their high amounts of potassium. By countering the effects of sodium on the heart and blood pressure, they alleviate any additional stresses on this essential organ.
Individuals who’ve had oxalate urinary tract stones should not consume lima beans. As with other beans, lima beans are naturally full of oxalic acid, a vegetable-based substance which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract.
The dietary fiber in lima beans can positively impact the digestive system too: Dietary fiber adds bulk to stool, helps move food smoothly through the colon, and assists the gut in optimizing nutrition intake from food.
The other organs and body systems that lima beans support are:
As a highly versatile legume, lima beans can be used in all kinds of recipes. Casseroles, stews, chili, and soups can all benefit from the addition of these richly-flavored legumes. The most famous dish to use lima beans is succotash, a North American dish typically made up of lima beans, sweet corns, peppers, and other vegetables.
Note: Raw lima beans may cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting, so be sure to thoroughly cook lima beans before consuming them.
Lima beans balance pH levels in the body.
Pregnant women are encouraged to eat lima beans due to their high vitamin B9 content.
Lima beans are a rich source of iron.
The beans promote heart health.
Those who have oxalate urinary tract stones should not consume lima beans.
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