7 Health Benefits Of Lima Beans That Can’t Be Ignored

Health benefits of lima beans.
Close up of Lima beans on wooden table

The starchy, buttery texture of lima (also known as butter beans) beans lends itself well to coconut-milk based stews, bean casseroles, salads, and even pasta. Although you might be hard pressed to find the fresh variety all year round, stock up on the dried or canned versions and you’re good to go. But if you’ve been wondering whether it’s worth stocking up on some, here are all the health benefits they provide that might help you make up your mind.

1. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

If you’ve been trying to manage your blood sugar levels, including lima beans in your diet might be helpful. They pack in 13.2 g of fiber, which makes up for 52.8% of your recommended daily intake. While this isn’t as much as other beans, most of the fiber content is soluble in nature, making it ideal to prevent blood sugar spikes. In fact, lima beans contain an abundant amount of pectin which is linked to reduced blood sugar spikes after meals.

In addition to this, a cup of its serving offers 80.8 mg of magnesium, which makes up for 26.06%

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of the recommended daily intake. And studies suggest that about 48% of people with type 2 diabetes have low levels of magnesium in their blood. This has been found to impair insulin’s ability to keep blood sugar levels under control. In addition to this, research has found that people with low magnesium intake have a higher risk of developing diabetes, while people with the highest intake were 47% less likely to do so. It’s no surprise then that another study showed that people with type 2 diabetes who supplemented with high doses of magnesium each day experienced significant improvements in blood sugar levels as opposed to people who didn’t.1 2 3 4

That said, these effects may depend on how much magnesium you get from food since a different study found that supplements didn’t improve blood sugar or insulin levels in people who were not deficient in the nutrient.5

2. Are A Good Source Of Protein

Protein is vital for building and repairing tissues as well as making enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. It is also the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood6. No surprises then that keeping up with it is necessary. A cup

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of lima beans provides a whopping 14.66 g of the macronutrient.7 This makes it a good protein source for vegetarians and vegans. However, it is important to note that lima beans don’t contain all the 9 amino acids that are required to make them a complete protein like meat and eggs.

3. Aid Weight Loss

If you’re on a diet, lima beans might be the key to achieving your weight loss goals. They contain pectin, which is a form of soluble fiber that becomes gummy-like in water and delays stomach emptying. In turn, this makes you feel fuller for longer and keeps you from over-eating, all while helping you stick to your daily caloric goals.

Besides this, lima beans are also rich in protein, which also keeps you full for a long time. One study even found that consuming legumes regularly reduced body fat percentage in adults. Another found that beans had a positive effect on weight management because of their

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ability to improve metabolic functions in obese adults.8 9 In addition to this, lima beans are low in calories and are almost fat-free, making them ideal for weight loss diets.10 11

4. Promote Brain Health

Consuming lima beans regularly can keep your

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brain function sharp and healthy. This could be due to its choline content, a vitamin that 90% of Americans have been found to be deficient in and only 5-10% of pregnant women get enough of. And while choline is essential to general health, it is particularly critical for brain health both in the early stages of life as the brain is forming and later in life to prevent cognitive decline. Evidence suggests that, among older adults, a diet that includes legumes improves cognitive health and protects against neurological impairments.12

5. Prevent Pregnancy-Related Complications

Folate is an important nutrient for pregnant women. It is considered critical for preventing congenital disabilities. In fact, keeping up with the required folate intake has been shown to cut the chances of early delivery by 50% or more if consumed for at least a year before pregnancy. The Center for

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Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day during their childbearing years and a cup of black beans provides, as mentioned earlier, 60% of the required folate needs for a day.13 14 15

6. Promote Thyroid Health

If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disorders, stock up on lima beans. A cup of its serving offers 0.970 mg of manganese, which makes up for 53.88% of your recommended daily intake.16 This nutrient helps enzymes function and work properly in your body and plays a role in the production of thyroxine. This is a vital hormone that is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which helps you maintain a proper appetite, metabolism, weight, and organ efficiency. Including lima beans in your diet might, hence, help manage your thyroid hormones.17

7. May Lower The Instances Of Epileptic Seizures

The leading cause of epilepsy in adults over 35 is a stroke. And this caused by decreased blood flow to your brain. Manganese is known to enlarge veins and efficiently carry blood to tissues like the brain. In turn, it decreases the risk of a stroke as well as epileptic seizures.18 In addition to this, part of the body’s manganese content is found in the brain with several studies suggesting that manganese levels may be lower in individuals with seizure disorders.19 Since lima beans pack in the manganese, they might aid towards lowered instances of stroke and seizures.

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