8 Wonderful Health Benefits Of Lima Beans You Never Knew
Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) is a legume grown for its edible seeds or beans. The seeds are also called butter beans due to their buttery texture and flavour. Lima beans are used in a wide variety of dishes and they are a common summer side dish in the Southern United States.
The pod of the fresh lima bean is flat, oblong and slightly curved which is about 3 inches in length. The pod contains two to four flat kidney-shaped seeds which are called lima beans .
Lima beans are packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and plant sterols .
100 grams of raw lima beans contain 10.17 g water, 338 kcal (energy) and they also contain
The insoluble dietary fibre in lima beans acts as a laxative that reduces the chances of constipation . Insoluble fibre stays in its fibrous form which helps food pass through the digestive system and increases the bulk of the stool. Eating lima beans can benefit people suffering from constipation or irregular stools.
Lima beans contain a good amount of protein which is important for regulating every single process of the body. Proteins are the building blocks of the body required for the growth and repair of cells and tissues of the body. Proteins help in faster recovery from an injury or illness by boosting up the protein levels in the body .
Lima beans contain significant amounts of dietary fibre, potassium, magnesium, folate and saponin . All these nutrients contribute to cardiovascular health. The fibre lowers the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces blood pressure. Folate reduces the thickening of artery walls, potassium and magnesium reduce the risk of heart diseases.
The dietary fibre content in lima beans protects the colon mucosa by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances in the colon. It also acts as a binding agent to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Lima beans also contain little amounts of isoflavones like genistein and daidzein which have been found to protect from breast cancer. In addition, lunatusin, a trypsin-stable antimicrobial peptide extracted from lima beans has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer .
If you have diabetes, lima beans can really help in managing your blood sugar levels due to the presence of dietary fibre. Consumption of lima beans by diabetic patients can help them manage their insulin resistance. Being a low glycemic index food, lima beans will help stabilize the blood sugar levels
Lima beans are an excellent source of iron, a mineral responsible for increased energy production and metabolism. When the iron stores start depleting in the body, not enough red blood cells are produced to transport oxygen throughout the body. This leads to weakness and low energy levels in the body.
Both fresh and dried lima beans are a great source of folate also known as folic acid is an important mineral required for pregnant mothers. Folate, when consumed before or during pregnancy, can help prevent neural birth defects of a baby's brain and spinal cord .
The fibre in lima beans keeps the digestive tract healthy by helping in the digestive process and boosting the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Fibre works as a prebiotic that feed the good bacteria in the intestine and lowers the risk factor for obesity and metabolic syndrome .
While purchasing dried lima beans make sure that they are not damaged, have no moisture content and they are whole and not cracked. Store them in an airtight container in a cool and dark place
If you are purchasing fresh lima beans, choose firm dark green glossy ones with tender skin. Store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for a few days.
If you are using dried ones, wash them first before soaking them in water for eight hours or overnight. Before cooking the beans, drain the water and rinse the beans with clean water.
If using whole fresh lima beans, cook them before eating it.
Baked lima beans
Note: You should never consume raw lima beans because they contain linamarin, a kind of cyanide that is toxic. Cooking the beans will destroy this compound and makes them safer to eat.
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