Move over chickpeas, there’s a new top bean in town.
Even if lima beans aren’t on your fave foods list right now, you’ll want to make some room on your plate for these super nutritious legumes after reading this.
Lima bean nutrition facts
Lima beans (aka butter beans, chad beans, wax beans, sieva beans, or Madagascar beans) have a lot to offer when it comes to nutrition, versatility, and taste.
Here’s the nutrition breakdown for 100 grams of lima beans:
- Calories: 164
- Fat: 6.8 grams (g)
- Protein: 7.5 g
- Fiber: 6.5 g
- Thiamin (B1): 0.142 milligrams (mg)
- Folate: 73 micrograms (mcg)
- Iron: 2.23 mg
- Magnesium: 40 mg
- Potassium: 472 mg
- Selenium: 4.2 mcg
- Zinc: 0.88 mg
FYI: Lima beans always need to be cooked. Raw lima beans can be toxic.
Because they’re packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protective plant compounds, munching on lima beans may benefit your health in a bunch of ways.
Rich in plant-based protein
Legumes (like lima beans) are a great source of protein for peeps following a plant-based diet.
Ideally, you should consume a mix of both plant- and animal-based protein on the reg. But if you’re strictly plant-based, lima beans are a great choice to help you meet your protein needs.
Your bod needs protein for normal cellular function and maintaining the health of your organs, muscles, bones, and more. Plus, since it’s the most filling macronutrient, adding protein-rich foods (like lima beans) to meals and snacks can keep you feeling satisfied.
Pro tip: Try to eat at least 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of your bodyweight each day.
Great for your gut
Eating a high fiber diet can help keep your gut in tip-top shape.
Eating beans (like lima beans) can help support your healthy gut bacteria. That may reduce your risk of health conditions like colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Bacteria in your gut ferment the fiber found in beans. This increases the production of compounds called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs serve as important fuel for your gut bacteria, so they benefit your gut and intestinal lining health.
The bad news? Most peeps don’t consume nearly enough fiber. The good news? You can. Eating a balanced diet that includes fiber-rich lima beans will help you reach the daily recommended value of 28 grams of dietary fiber.
Supports heart health
The high concentration of fiber and other nutrients like potassium and magnesium in lima beans can benefit your ticker.
Fiber helps reduce cholesterol and may help promote a moderate body weight. Magnesium and potassium are essential for blood pressure regulation. Beans may also help reduce inflammation and keep your blood vessels healthy.
Noshing on plant-based food sources (like lima beans) may help reduce heart disease risk factors. These risk factors include things like high levels of LDL cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure.
In fact, regularly consuming legumes may significantly reduce your risk of developing heart disease. A 2017 review found that participants who ate the most beans had a 10 percent lower risk of developing heart disease.
In a 2019 review, bean-rich diets were also associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Good choice for blood sugar control
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important for your overall health. Lima beans pack a ton of protein and fiber. That’s the perfect combo for controlling your blood sugar.
Studies suggest that beans can benefit folks with diabetes by helping to lower post meal and long-term blood sugar levels.
Lima beans are loaded with other nutrients that the bod needs to maintain blood sugar levels. Magnesium, for example, is a mineral that’s important for how your body uses carbs. Your body needs magnesium to move blood sugar into your cells where it can be used for energy.
Low magnesium intake is considered a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
Adding lima beans to your diet may add other benefits, too.
Lima beans are super nutritious. They’re a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, folate, zinc, copper, potassium, thiamine, and more.
Plus, studies show that eating beans may promote fat loss and that peeps who eat lots of beans tend to have less body fat than folks who don’t.
Diets rich in beans have also been linked to better brain function later in life and a lower risk of death from all causes.
Lima beans have a smooth and creamy texture, and a mild taste. This means they play nice with lots of ingredients and make a smart pantry staple. They work well in many recipes, including salads, soups, dips, and pastas.
You can buy fresh lima beans in some areas, but canned or dried lima beans are the easiest to find in grocery stores.
Lima beans need to be cooked. You should never eat raw lima beans. Raw lima beans contain toxic compounds that can harm your health. The best way to remove these compounds is to soak, rinse, then boil or steam lima beans for at least 5 minutes.
Soaking, rinsing, and properly cooking lima beans also helps reduce compounds called lectins that interfere with the absorption of nutrients like iron.
Here are a few lima simple lima bean recipes to try out:
- creamy lima beans
- lemon garlic lima beans
- lima bean spread with feta and za’atar
- spinach, lima bean & crispy pancetta pasta
- vegan Peruvian lima bean salad
- lemony zucchini, chickpea, and lima bean salad
- butter bean soup
How long do lima beans last?
- Canned beans: Unopened, they’ll last 2 to 5 years at room temperature.
- Dried beans: These can stay fresh for at least 2 years.
- Fresh beans: Store these in the fridge and use them within a few days.
- Frozen beans: You’ll be able to keep these for about 6 months.
To be safe, don’t eat lima beans that have a funky smell or have mold growth. This can make you sick.
Lots of peeps hate on lima beans, but these nutrient-packed gems don’t deserve it.
They’re packed with the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals your bod needs to stay healthy. Adding lima beans to your diet may even offer health benefits like a healthier gut and lower risk of heart disease.
Plus, their mild taste makes them super versatile and can be tossed into just about any dish.