Are you looking for some food which is delicious and one of the most popular legumes in the South America? If yes, then you will be happy to be introduced to Lima bean which is also known as butter bean. Lima beans are native of Peru and the Andes where it is consumed as one of the staple foods.
They are present in many colors. Primary color is the butter colored beans because of which they are also known as butter beans. They are also available in red, purple, white and black colors.
Nutritional Value in Lima Beans
Lima beans are excellent sources of many vital nutrients. It is one of the best sources of Potassium and Phosphorus. It also contains Magnesium and Calcium is significant quantities. It contains various Vitamins such as Vitamin B5, B6, Vitamin E and K. They contain almost no fat but very high quality plant based protein. It also contains molybdenum which helps you fight Sulphite allergy.
Dietary Fiber in Lima Beans
Like most legumes lima beans are also very good source of dietary fiber as they contain around 7 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams in weight. This bean contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. This means that you can fulfill your fiber needs to large extent when you consume this legume.
From nutrition perspective this is almost an ideal food as it gives us fat free energy, good amount or protein and dietary fiber. This also means that you can achieve the often recommended energy vs fiber ratio of getting 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1000 calories of food.
Health Benefits of Lima Beans
Due to the presence of various nutrients which includes: Vitamins, protein, minerals and dietary fiber eating this legume provides you various benefits. Some of the benefits are common among many legumes like:
1. Heart Health Improvement: Soluble fiber in the lima beans binds the cholesterol which is present in the bile juice. This reduces the bad cholesterol and improves the heart health and may prevent heart diseases such as heart attacks. Magnesium in the beans is useful since it relaxes the heart muscles as well as the arteries which improves the blood flow in the heart region. Folate which is a kind of Vitamin, and present in the beans, reduces the levels of harmful amino acids called homocysteine. This amino acid when present in the blood increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
2. Controls Blood Sugar: Lima beans have low glycemic index, which means that it does not allow the blood sugar to be release quickly into the blood. The fiber present in the beans also slows down the blood sugar being released into the blood stream. This happens since the soluble fiber absorbs the water in the intestines, and slows down the metabolism of the carbohydrate present in the beans. This is very beneficial for people who suffer from high blood sugar levels which in long term causes type 2 diabetes. So if you suffer from insulin resistance you should take more legumes such as lima beans, kidney beans and black beans.
3. Constipation Control: The insoluble fiber present in the lima beans helps in keeping the bowels clean by easier elimination of waste. Due to this most people can get rid of constipation be eating more fiber rich foods such as this bean.
How To Consume Lima Beans
Lima beans are hard like most other legumes and should be soaked for several hours before they become softer and ready for cooking. Then they need to be boiled before they can be used in various recipes. Cooking makes the beans healthier as it removes many enzymes which can be otherwise unhealthy.
You can create a puree out of the boiled beans and use it as spread on the bread or in sandwich. There are also many soups which uses these beans and you can find several recipes online. Many south and central American recipes such as burritos can be prepared with these beans.
Some Interesting Facts
- Originally Lima beans were exported from Lima which is in Peru to Europe. That is why these are known as Lima beans.
- There are two popular varieties of this bean. Large seed and smaller seeds variety.
- They are being cultivate for around 7000 years.