7 Wonderful Benefits of Lima Beans

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Lima beans are delicious and versatile legume that may have a number of important health benefits, which may include its potential ability to improve digestion, boost heart health, positively impact energy levels, aid circulation, stimulate growth and repair, defend against chronic illness, and protect against diabetes.

What are Lima Beans?

Lima beans or butter beans or sieva beans are some of the most common legumes that are consumed all over the world. The beans are actually the seeds of this plant, but their large size and dense nutrient profile make them an excellent sustenance crop. The larger varieties of these beans are typically lima beans, while smaller-seeded varieties are sieva beans, but they are actually the same species.

Lima beans with a wooden spoon filled with the beans

Lima bean is also known as butter bean. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt
Serving Size :
Water [g]69.79
Energy 115
Energy [kJ]482
Protein [g]7.8
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.38
Ash [g]1.15
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]20.88
Fiber, total dietary [g]7
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]2.9
Calcium, Ca [mg]17
Iron, Fe [mg]2.39
Magnesium, Mg [mg]43
Phosphorus, P [mg]111
Potassium, K [mg]508
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.95
Copper, Cu [mg]0.24
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.52
Selenium, Se [µg]4.5
Fluoride, F [µg]2.2
Thiamin [mg]0.16
Riboflavin [mg]0.06
Niacin [mg]0.42
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.42
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.16
Folate, total [µg]83
Folate, food [µg]83
Folate, DFE [µg]83
Choline, total [mg]32.5
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.18
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.09
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.07
18:0 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.03
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.03
22:1 [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.17
18:2 [g]0.12
18:3 [g]0.05
Tryptophan [g]0.09
Threonine [g]0.34
Isoleucine [g]0.41
Leucine [g]0.67
Lysine [g]0.52
Methionine [g]0.1
Cystine [g]0.09
Phenylalanine [g]0.45
Tyrosine [g]0.28
Valine [g]0.47
Arginine [g]0.48
Histidine [g]0.24
Alanine [g]0.4
Aspartic acid [g]1.01
Glutamic acid [g]1.1
Glycine [g]0.33
Proline [g]0.35
Serine [g]0.52
Sources include : USDA [1]

Lima Beans Nutrition

According to USDA, lima beans are good sources many nutrients that include potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, B- vitamins, and calories. They also contain dietary fiber, protein, and antioxidant compounds, all of which make them a great addition to your diet. Now, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of lima beans. [2]

Health Benefits of Lima Beans

Lima beans have many health benefits that include:

It May Improve Heart Health

Lima beans may have a potentially positive impact on human health in a number of ways. Not only are lima beans possibly rich in dietary fiber, which can help scrape cholesterol and possibly eliminate it from the body, but they’re also known to be a good source of magnesium and folate. Having enough magnesium in the body may help to regulate blood pressure, in a similar way to potassium, by relaxing the blood vessels and reducing strain on the heart, thus preventing strokes and heart attacks. Folate is also associated with lower homocysteine levels, which is good because elevated homocysteine.

It May Increase Energy Levels

Due to the impressive protein content in lima beans, if you already get enough protein in your diet, the body will store this protein as volatile and easily accessible energy. Lima beans can provide a clean, healthy boost to your cognition and focus as well. The manganese levels in lima beans may also help to optimize the energy production process in the body. Finally, the iron content boosts red blood cell circulation, improving oxygenation and increasing energy. [3]

It May Aid in Diabetes Management

According to a Harvard Medical School report, daily intake of a cup of beans or lentils combined with a low-glycemic diet may help reduce blood sugar concentration and decreases coronary artery disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes.  [4]

May Contain Antioxidant Properties

Manganese is a key enzyme cofactor for a number of important substances in the body, namely antioxidant compounds that will seek out free radicals in the body and minimize oxidative stress. The high manganese concentration in lima beans may help protect the immune system and prevent various health conditions. [5]

May Lead to Improved Digestion

Dietary fiber is most well known for its impact on digestion and the gastrointestinal tracts. Dietary fiber helps to bulk up the stool, thus preventing diarrhea, and also stimulating peristaltic motion to move food through the colon. Fiber can also help the gut optimize nutrient uptake, possibly making sure that we get as much out of our food as possible. Lima beans are incredible sources of fiber – a single cup may serve more than 50% of your recommended daily fiber intake – and they can do great things for your digestive health. [6]

May Act As Blood Circulation Stimulant

The high content of iron found in lima beans may make them very good for the circulatory system. Iron is a necessary component for the production of red blood cells, which can thus increase circulation. When more oxygenated blood gets to the extremities, it can speed healing and repair following an illness or injury, and can also boost energy levels and vitality. Anemia is another name for iron deficiency, and avoiding the weakness, nausea, fatigue, and headaches of that condition is also a good choice by keeping lima beans in your diet. [7]

May Aid in Growth and Repair

Lima beans contain a significant amount of protein, roughly 1/3 of our daily recommended amount in a single cup, which can be important for every single process of the body. Proteins are literally the building blocks of our body, and we require them for everything from cell and tissue development to cognition, bone strength, and energy. If you want to ensure normal growth and development or are recovering from an injury or illness, boosting your protein levels with lima beans is an effective and vegetarian-friendly option! [8]

Uses of Lima Beans

Lima beans can be grown both on bushes or on a vine and can be used in many ways

  • As the main protein source
  • A side dish
  • Soups
  • Stews & curries
  • Salads.

The wide popularity of beans has made lima beans a globally accessible foodstuff, and when canned, lima beans tend to retain their complete nutrient profile, unlike other vegetables and fruits that undergo a canning process. [9]

Lima Beans – History

These important beans are believed to have been cultivated in South America as long as 4,000 years ago, and then at other times throughout history in North and Central America. This has resulted in these beans being a staple crop for indigenous people, and a relatively easy crop to cultivate, even in harsh conditions. [10]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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