lima bean – Healthy superfoods – by Dr. Nuwanthi Fernando

 

Lima beans are also known as butter beans due to their starchy and buttery texture. As their flavor is so delicate, it is used to prepare a variety of dishes. Finding fresh lima beans throughout the year might be hard. Anyhow, if you find them in the summer, make sure you prepare dishes with these fresh beans. But, in the rest of the year dried and canned lima beans are available in the market.

Butter beans contain a significant amount of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It is also well known that these beans contain a lot of proteins similar to the other legumes. Hence, they could be a great source of plant-based proteins. Packed with a lot of nutrients, lima beans can benefit human health in many ways. According to dieticians, butter beans are recognized as one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Here are a few health benefits of lima beans;

Detoxify your body

Certain dried fruits, vegetables and wines contain sulfites that might cause headaches, nausea, and disorientation in sensitive individuals. Anyhow, lima beans have the ability to improve these symptoms. Studies show that lima beans contain a trace element known as molybdenum, which is rarely found in other vegetables. One cup of these beans contains more than 300% of the daily recommended value of molybdenum, amount which is sufficient to detoxify sulfites. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, then lima beans could be a good remedy to overcome it.

Provides a healthy brain and prevents neurodegenerative disorders

It is known that Molybdenum helps nerve cells development and their energy production. Together with the proteins, vitamins, and minerals lima beans have the ability to maintain a healthy nervous system.

Folate is another nutrient that is abundantly found in butter beans. Folate is responsible in the regulation of an amino acid known as methionine, and reduced levels of folate in the body elevate the homocysteine levels, which is a dangerous precursor for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A single cup of lima beans can fulfill your daily requirement of folate.

Improves your cardiovascular health

Elevated levels of homocysteine increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other vascular diseases. Also, lima beans contain a lot of magnesium, a mineral that helps the blood vessels relax and improves circulation.

These butter beans have a very high amount of potassium and a very low amount of sodium. One cup of lima beans contains as much as 955 milligrams of potassium and only 3.8 milligrams of sodium. This helps the blood vessels relax and maintain proper blood pressure. It is well known that consuming potassium-rich food is one of the best ways of managing your blood pressure in a natural way. Therefore, consuming lima beans at least twice a week could help you optimize your blood pressure level.

It’s an excellent source of fiber

1 cup of Lima beans contains 13g of fiber. The fibers in these beans are so special because they have the capacity to reduce cholesterol levels, as are the other legumes. Other than reducing the risk of heart diseases, the fibers of butter beans can also prevent rapid rising of blood sugar level after meals. This makes lima beans an excellent choice of food for individuals with diabetes mellitus. Metabolism of sugars is controlled by two factors: the presence of higher amounts of absorption-slowing protein in the beans, and the presence of soluble fibers that reduces the glycemic index. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the metabolism of the bean’s carbohydrates.

The insoluble fibers in lima beans help to increase stool bulk and also to prevent constipation. They are also believed to aid in the prevention of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

Replenishes your iron stores

Lima beans contain a significant amount of iron. A cup of lima beans provides 25% of your daily iron requirement. Even though plant-based iron is less absorbable in regards to animal-based iron, in vegan diet all the sources of iron are plant-based. In such situations consuming iron-rich food in abundance is a necessity to keep your iron stores intact. Lima beans should be included in the vegan diet as a frequent ingredient to make sure you provide your body with enough iron.

The individuals who are not following any dietary restrictions can add lima beans to their diet to fulfill their daily iron needs as well. Lima beans provide fat-free proteins and irons, unlike poultry and red meat.

Iron is responsible in hemoglobin production and thereby to transport oxygen throughout the body supplying the cells and tissues with enough oxygen to function well. A low level of iron can cause low-level hemoglobin and cause anemia, which will eventually make you weak.