Baby lima beans – also known as butter beans – are the edible seeds of a legume that belong to the family Fabaceae. This legume is one of the oldest cultivated foods in human history. In fact, the domestication of a certain species of lima beans dates back to 2000 BC in the Andes. The second recorded domestication of lima beans occurred in Mesoamerica in 800 AD.
Lima beans are named after the capital of Peru, where the legume has been cultivated for over 6,000 years! Apart from its mild flavor and healthy goodness, lima beans promote weight loss and better bone health. Below are the health and nutritional benefits of adding baby lima beans to your diet:
Low in Calories
Just a fourth cup serving of baby lima beans yields just 170 calories, calories of which are from fat. The same serving will yield 32 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of dietary fiber. Average sized lima beans contain even fewer calories at 150 with zero calories from fat. A serving of lima beans also yields about 28 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of dietary fiber and 10 grams of protein.
Low in Fat
Apart from being low in calories, baby lima beans are also low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. This is the reason why vegans and vegetarians prefer baby lima beans than other legumes. A serving of baby lima beans also satisfies 4% of your RDA of protein, which is another plus if you are a vegan or sticking to a vegetarian diet. The protein in baby lima beans is healthier than protein from animal sources.
Packed with Dietary Fiber
Perhaps one of the most important health benefits of baby lima beans is their fiber content. This nutrient helps keep the digestive system and heart healthy. Fiber helps regulate cholesterol in the blood, ease digestion, and bulk up the stool. A diet high in fiber boosts cardiovascular health. Baby lima beans happen to be teeming with fiber!
Regulate Blood Sugar
Thanks to the concentrated amount of soluble fiber in baby lima beans, they allow water to be absorbed into the stomach to create a gel-like substance. This substance reduces the breakdown of carbohydrates, preventing blood sugar level to soar after a meal. The slow-burning protein in baby lima beans heightens their effects to the blood sugar level. A diet rich in baby lima beans will cut the risk of diabetes, hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance.
Baby lima beans contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Both nutrients are beneficial to the digestion. The insoluble fiber in baby lima beans bulks up the stool and prevents constipation. It also cuts the risk of digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. And as mentioned above, the soluble fiber in baby lima beans helps regulate blood sugar level and makes you feel fuller for longer. Finally, baby lima beans are also associated with a lower risk of developing colon cancer.
Baby lima beans are packed with folate and magnesium. These nutrients help regulate blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders. Baby lima beans are also teeming with complex carbohydrates that energize the body. They are also loaded with iron. Iron is a critical factor in the generation of red blood cells. This legume is also high in manganese and calcium. Both nutrients are needed to maintain better bone health.