Butter beans (lima beans) in a burlap bag on a white background

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Legumes have always been associated with a myriad of health benefits. Lima beans are delicious legumes and have versatile cooking options.

They have numerous benefits such as positively impacting energy levels, improving digestion, stimulating growth and repair, boosting heart health, and defending against chronic illnesses among other similar benefits. 

What Are Lima Beans?

Lima beans are among the most loved legumes around the world. They go by various names such as butter beans because of their buttery yet starchy texture.

The smaller seeded variety is also termed as sieve beans. Fresh lima beans might be difficult to find all year round depending upon the area you live in. However, dried or canned varieties are available throughout the year.

Where Have Lima Beans Originated From?

These beans are actually the seeds of the Lima crop. It is known to be as old as 4000 years. These beans originated in South America. However, they have been prevalent among other times in the history and are currently being cultivated in Central and North America.

This has caused these beans to become a staple with indigenous people. The myriad of growing areas have also made it suitable to accommodate to harsh climates. This makes it an easy crop to cultivate. The seeds of this crop are large and have a dense nutrient profile that has made it an excellent sustenance crop.

How Do They Look?

The pod of this crop is slightly oblong, long and flat. The average size is 3–4 inches with each pod containing 2 to 4 flat kidney shaped beans.

The seeds can be in multiple colors such as brown, purple, black, red and white. However, cream and green are among the most common varieties found.

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How Can They Be Used?

Lima crops are grown in vines and bushes. There are a variety of dishes that can be made with these beans. You can use them fresh, dried or canned.

These beans tend to retain their complex nutrient value even after undergoing the process of canning, unlike other vegetables and fruits.

This has turned these beans into an excellent nutritional option. You can cook these beans to be the main protein source or as a side dish. You can use it as an ingredient in salads, soups, stews and various curries.

The Nutritional Value

lima beans pasta

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Lima beans are an important source of minerals, dietary fibers, antioxidants, and protein compounds that are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

These nutrients make a healthy addition to your lifestyle. Here is the in-depth nutritional profile of 1 cup or 188 gm of cooked lima beans.

Basic Macronutrients

Butter beans are an excellent source of protein with 14 gm present in each cup of cooked beans. The total fat contribution is 0.71 gm with each cup containing 216 calories.

Lima beans are also an excellent source of much-needed dietary fibers and clean carbohydrates. It contains 13 gm of dietary fibers and 39 gm of carbohydrates per cooked cup.


Lima bean or butter beans are also a store of necessary vitamins. They contain adequate amounts of various water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Each cooked cup of butter beans contains roughly 5 mg of various B-complex vitamins.

It also contains adequate amounts of Folate and Choline. Fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin K and Vitamin E are also present.


Butter beans contain various important minerals as part of their nutritional index. There are adequate amounts of Boron, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc, Sodium and Selenium. These beans are an excellent source of Molybdenum as well.


Various healthy fatty acids such as Omega 3, Omega 6, Linoleic, and Palmitic acids are found in these beans. Individual amino acids such as Alanine, Glutamic acid, Aspartic acid, and Leucine are also found.

There are traces of other amino acids such as Lysine, Tyrosine, and Valine present in butter beans.

Amazing Benefits of Eating Lima Beans

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There are many benefits that accompany including lima beans in your diet ranging from improved energy levels to better heart conditions.

Energy, Growth and Repair

Protein is responsible for providing your body with energy to carry out routine tasks while improving growth and repair. Proteins are essentially the building blocks of your body and are found in significant quantities in these beans.

Your body gets to store excess proteins as easily accessible and volatile energy when you make butter beans a regular part of your diet. A single cup of cooked butter beans contains roughly 1/3rd of the daily recommended proteins.

Proteins Are Important in Every Single Process of Your Body.

Proteins are essential to everything from cell growth, tissue repair, cognitive development, bone strength, and energy. Lima beans are an excellent source of vegetarian proteins. These are essential if you are recovering from an illness or an injury. Adequate protein intake is required to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Apart from boosting your protein levels, adding these beans to your diet also provides adequate iron and manganese. These are essential to boosting your cognition and focus. Manganese in the body helps in optimizing energy production.

Iron, on the other hand, boosts red blood cell production and circulation. This, in turn, increases energy by improving oxygenation cycle in the body.

Prevention of Heart Conditions and Diabetes

There are various positive impacts on the human body associated with butter beans. These are rich in dietary fibers, magnesium, potassium, and Folate.

Dietary fibers are essential to scraping away cholesterol and eliminating it from the body. These fibers are also necessary to reduce the risk of diabetes. There area number of benefits when maintaining adequate levels of dietary fibers in your food intake.

It optimizes blood sugar levels and helps to regulate the absorption of nutrients. The glucose/insulin balance in the body is maintained at a healthy level due to dietary fibers.

This prevents any peaks and dips in sugar level that can lead to diabetes. Lima beans are an excellent way to prevent the development of diabetes by managing the diagnosed symptoms.

Magnesium and potassium work dedicatedly to regulate blood pressure. A diet rich in these essential minerals can prevent heart attacks and strokes. These minerals relax the many blood vessels present in the body to reduce strain on the heart.

Folate is also an essential nutrient in thwarting heart conditions. High homocysteine levels have been associated with coronary heart diseases. Folate helps in reducing the homocysteine levels preventing heart conditions.

Improves Blood Circulation and Minimizes Oxidative Stress

Butter beans have a very high content of Iron and Manganese. Iron is essential to the circulatory system. It increases red blood circulation as it is a necessary component for production and circulation of red blood cells.

Iron also facilitates healing and repair by making sure that oxygenated blood reaches all the extremities adequately. Iron helps in boosting vitality and energy levels. An iron-rich diet is recommended for quick recovery from an illness or injury.

You can even prevent anemia by adding Lima beans to your diet. There are various other maladies such as fatigue, headaches, nausea, and weakness that are avoided by adding butter beans to your diet.

These beans are also an excellent source of Manganese that is the key enzyme cofactor in many antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants are essential substances in the body that seek out free radicals to minimize oxidative stress.

Antioxidants are critical to providing a helping aid to your immunity system. A diet rich in manganese can also prevent various conditions such as macular degeneration and cancer among other similar maladies.

High manganese content found in butter beans makes them an ideal nutritional choice to be added to your diet.

Better Digestion

It is no secret that Lima beans are an excellent source of dietary fibers. Improved digestion can be added to the growing benefits of dietary fibers. It has a massive impact on the gastrointestinal tracts and digestion.

These fibers help in preventing various stool related conditions such as diarrhea by bulking it up. Dietary fibers also prevent constipation by making the stool soft.

Peristaltic motion is stimulated by dietary fibers present in butter bean that helps the food move through the colon. Dietary fibers are also known to regulate the nutritional uptake absorbed by the body.

This is done during the digestion process. It helps the gut optimize the nutrient uptake and ensures that maximum nutrition is absorbed from the food.

Butter beans can provide almost 50% of your daily recommended dietary fiber intake. This makes lima beans an excellent choice to acquire adequate nutrition and dietary fibers.


spoonful of lima beans

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Lima beans are a fantastic source of cholesterol-reducing fiber and other minerals that can help prevent various diseases and conditions.

It is a vegetarian protein source and can be easily digested. Various legumes, like butter beans, also help in preventing blood sugar level increase.

This reduces the risk of diabetes, hypoglycemia and insulin resistance. They are also an excellent source of molybdenum which is helpful to people intolerant to sulfites.

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