There are certain foods that you remember as a child. Ones where your parents wanted you to eat them in an entire serving, and it was like pulling teeth for them. Lima beans are certainly one of those foods that bring back some memories, though probably not a lot of good ones. Once you get into adulthood, you start to actually become more health conscious and start eating the foods you once hated, and lima beans should definitely be added to your diet if you’re looking to keep healthy.
Lima beans are grown all over the world, and are both incredibly easy to find and very affordable. You should know, however, that you can’t eat lima beans raw, as they need to be boiled for a minimum of 10 minutes to avoid serious problems. Once you get the hang of cooking lima beans and adding them to your diet, you’ll enjoy a wide range of health benefits. Let’s take a look at the nutritional value and some of those great benefits you’ll receive.
Nutrition of Lima Beans
One serving of lima beans delivers an incredible range of nutrition that not many other foods can claim. A 100 grams serving (around 3.5 ounces) contains just 115 calories, while giving you 16 percent of the recommended amount of protein and more than a quarter of your daily fiber. Out of the many vitamins you’ll find in lima beans, folate is the most abundant with more than 20 percent daily value.
Other significant vitamins include thiamin and vitamin B6 at 10 percent, while also delivering significant amounts of vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. Manganese is the most abundant mineral found in lima beans, with more than a quarter of your recommended value. Iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper all come in at more than 10 percent. As a nice bonus, lima beans have smaller amounts of calcium, zinc and selenium, with no cholesterol and only trace amounts of fat with under half of a gram.
Good For the Heart
It’s estimated that more than 600,000 people each year die from heart disease, which accounts for a quarter of deaths in the United States alone. Eating foods such as lima beans can make sure that you’re not one of these people thanks to the great nutrients. The fiber found in lima beans have been shown to balance your cholesterol by both lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raising your HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Lima beans also contain a healthy amount of folate in each serving, which aids your heart by lowering the amount of homocysteines that can cause heart disease. Add in high levels of magnesium and potassium, and you’ll also be lowering your blood pressure levels by wiping out excess sodium from the body and relieving stress on the blood vessels and improve your overall circulation.
The same homocysteines we mentioned that can attack your heart can also attack your other vital organ; the brain. Folate from lima beans reduce these homocysteine levels, which give you an automatic boost to your brain health, making your neurotransmitters more efficient. That alone will reduce your chances of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, with studies saying that people who get enough folate reduce their chances of these diseases by up to 60 percent.
Lima beans will provide proteins that increase the growth (and repair) of your cells, further aiding the brain. That improves your cognition and memory, and the iron levels of lima beans increase your energy. In short, lima beans make sure your brain is firing on all cylinders in both the short term and long term.
Just one serving of lima beans will provide almost 30 percent of your daily recommendation for fiber, making it one of the highest fiber foods per serving. When you get a healthy amount of fiber in your diet, your body creates more probiotics that will eliminate harmful bacteria that causes digestive problems such as constipation, irregularity and diarrhea.
Adding more fiber in your diet is also linked to a reduction in your chance of certain diseases, including colon cancer. Lima beans are even filling thanks to the high amount of fiber, which can lead to fewer cravings throughout the day and a boost in your metabolism. With more than 90 percent of U.S. residents not getting enough fiber in their diets, perhaps it’s time that you started eating more lima beans after all!
Though they aren’t talked about all that much, there are nasty compounds that can be found in your body called sulfites. If you drink a lot of lemon or lime juice or eat foods such as sauerkraut and dried fruits, you might have excess sulfites in your body. That can lead to you feeling dragged down by fatigue and also cause headaches. To get rid of sulfites in your body, you need to be getting more molybdenum.
There aren’t too many foods that contain molybdenum, but lima beans are among them. It’s been shown that there are more than three times the daily recommendation of molybdenum. That might sound like too much, but there isn’t any known toxic amount of this rare compound. However, you should make sure that you don’t take too many just to play it safe.
People tend to think of nuts or meat when they think of protein, but lima beans and other similar foods are also high in protein. At nearly 20 percent of your daily recommendation, lima beans can help you build muscle and grow other types of cells. Those that get the recommended amount of protein not only add muscle, but have a higher metabolism to burn more fat. Even if you’re simply looking to lose weight, creating more lean muscle won’t make you too bulky. Lima beans also don’t contain many calories and their ability to make you feel more full make for a great addition to any weight loss program.
Summing it Up
You were likely told to eat your lima beans as a child, but thought that the only side effect was that you didn’t like the taste. So are there any real side effects in lima beans that you need to worry about? It can be a bit tedious to prepare lima beans since they absolutely have to be boiled to become non-toxic, but you can get over that pretty quickly. The main side effect, though, is the high amount of fiber.
If you’re not used to having a lot of fiber in your diet, you might experience some discomfort while your body adjusts. Thankfully, these problems are usually temporary and minor. Outside of that, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about lima beans, especially if you’re one of the people that loves the taste. Just make sure to include other foods that are high in protein and iron to get the maximum efficiency, and you’ll be able to get all of the fantastic benefits that lima beans provide!