Lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus) are also known as butter beans, sieva beans, double beans, Madagascar beans, or wax beans.
It’s a legume with edible seeds or beans. The legume has a mild flavor, creamy texture, and unique color. These beans are native to Mesoamerica and South America and may have originated in Peru.
Lima beans were named after the capital of Peru, Lima. In Spain, it’s called garrofon. Dried beans are often soaked overnight before cooking. The cultivation season lasts from October to April. In this article, we will discuss the detailed nutritional aspects and health benefits of Lima beans.
Nutritional Facts about Lima Beans
Lima beans are an amazing source of many nutrients, including fiber, several vitamins, and minerals. A cup of these beans contains:
- Calories: 209 kcal
- Protein: 12 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbs: 40 grams
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Manganese: 92% of the DV
- Copper: 58% of the DV
- Magnesium: 30% of the DV
- Iron: 23% of the DV
- Potassium: 21% of the DV
- Thiamin: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 19% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 18% of the DV
Note: DV refers to the percentage of Daily Value of nutrients as per FDA guidelines.
Learn more about the six categories of nutrients and their importance here.
Health Benefits of Lima Beans
These beans are associated with several potential health benefits. some of these benefits have been studied by researchers and studies are still ongoing to find out more. These beans are among the foods vegetarians should add for a complete protein.
The common health benefits of Lima beans are:
1) May help control blood sugar level
Some studies suggest that these beans may be beneficial in reducing blood glucose levels.
Beans have a low glycemic index, which is essential in the regulation of blood sugar. That can stabilize insulin levels. Research conducted by the Nutrition and Dietetics Group, School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Charles Perkins Center at The University of Sydney has concluded that legumes play an important role in glycemic control in both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals.
2) May improve heart health
Lima beans are among the best dietary fiber foods to include in your diet. Soluble fibers are beneficial in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
Antioxidants are good for your heart health and these beans are also a good source of these compounds. These beans can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and inflammation. Antioxidants fight against free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells.
3) Weight loss benefits
Research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism conducted a cross-sectional study of 246 women and concluded that the consumption of beans and legumes can reduce waist and hip circumference.
Lima beans can help in weight loss by increasing your protein intake, appetite control, increasing satiety, and decreasing unnecessary cravings for junk food.
Read about whether pulses and legumes are good sources of protein.
How to Cook Lima Beans
Canned beans can be consumed directly, as they’re already cooked during the canning process.
Raw lima beans need to be soaked in water overnight to make them soft before cooking. Soaking also reduces anti-nutritional factors, the compounds that prevent the absorption of nutrients in the gut. The soaking process can also reduce the cooking time of these beans.
Here’re the steps to process these beans at home before adding them to your favorite recipes:
- Discard the soaking water, and wash the beans with fresh water.
- In a pot, take one cup (170 grams) of lima with 4 cups (945 mL) of water. Add one tsp of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil, and reduce the heat and let the beans cook for an hour, or till they’re soft and mushy.
- Drain the water and add to your recipe of choice.
You can also add stock, broth, and a variety of spices to these beans for added flavor.
Click here to learn about the 15 nutrient-rich foods to add to your diet.
These beans can be cooked easily and added to your favorite recipes for a smooth, buttery taste. The antioxidants present in these beans can prevent heart disease. It has to be kept in mind that beans and legumes contain anti-nutritional factors, and they must be washed and cooked properly before consumption.