Another night, another dinner, another vegetable to find. So why not add a healthy portion of lima beans to the menu? Surprisingly, this tiny legume packs a lot of punch in the arena of health benefits.
A one-cup serving of lima beans contains 216 calories. Though the calorie count can seem to be too high for any diet, the reality is that its energy units reflect a nutritionally dense and complex food. In other words, ignore the number of calories because they are not empty calories. (Grab a can of soda for empty calories).
Out of the 216 calories, only 6 calories are attributed to fats. The percentile of fat in a lima bean is considered to be trace calories since one would need to consume an un-human portion for the fat to be considered valid or ‘countable.’ And yet, in the one cup of lima beans, this legume can provide 29 percent of one’s protein requirements. Even further, one cup offers 52 percent of your fiber for the day.
Lima beans can add molybdenum, trytophan, manganese, folate, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, manesium, and vitamin B1 to your daily diet. Some of these vitamins and minerals are familiar while others are not so commonly used. For example, molybdenum aids in the breakdown of sulfites. If sulfites build up in the body’s system, they can cause rapid heart rate, confusion, and headaches.
Health Benefits of Lima Beans
The list of health benefits is extensive:
Benefits from Lima Beans’ Fiber: Problems with high cholesterol? Then eat some lima beans! Lima beans have a high amount of fiber and fiber helps to reduce cholesterol. Also, the high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from sky rocketing after a meal. Alongside of the high fiber content, a large amount of it is insoluable fiber that aides in increasing stool bulk and preventing constipation. Further, insoluable fiber can help to prevent digestive diseases.
Cardiovasuclar Benefits: The incredible amounts of folate and magnesium help to lower amino acids that raise the risk for heart attacks and stroke. One cup provides 39 percent of folate. While magnesium attributes for 20 percent of one’s daily value in a serving of lima beans, it also is a major factor in allowing the veins and arteries to ‘open up.’ As magnesium infiltrates our system, it allows for improved flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body.
Energy Benefits: The amount of iron in a serving of lima beans gives a boost to the energy level because of iron’s role in energy production and metabolism. The manganese that is contained in this food is also a key player in energy production for the body.
There are many ways to eat lima beans. Obviously they can be eaten alone after being soaked and cooked. If you need to add salt, wait until the beans have been soaked and are mostly cooked. If the tough skin has salt or acidic seasonings added too soon, the beans will take longer to cook and be a tougher texture.
A classic dish is succatosh: lima beans and corn. If you want to add a bit of pazzazz to the this classic, make a burrito. Fill a corn tortilla with succatosh, tomatoes, avocado slices and scallions.
Add some marinated lima beans into a salad. Use any marinade that you enjoy - and toss into a salad.
By adding lima beans to stews that are based on root vegetables (like beets, carrots, potatoes, or turnips - you can add some extra nutritional power to your warm meal.
The Bottom Line on the Beans
It is clear that there are more benefits than meet the eye when looking at a label on a can or bag of lima beans. The nutritional facts show again and again, that this legume is highly complex and provides many necessary vitamins and minerals for our bodies. Lima beans go above and beyond filling one’s hunger, they allow the body to operate more effectively.
1. Nutrition Education 101. NC State University. 2000.