Have you ever tried fava beans? These legumes are also known as broad beans, faba beans, or horse beans. They’re used all over the world, but not so much in America. Fava beans can be found fresh, dried, or canned. It’s a great way to shake up your usual meals. After all, the world of beans isn’t limited to chickpeas and kidney beans. These tasty beans also have lots of health benefits! Here are five reasons to add them to your cupboard.
1. Fava Beans Increases Satiety
Are trying to lose or manage weight? Eat fava beans. They’re rich in protein and fiber, two nutrients that increase satiety. Half a cup offers 6.46 grams of protein and 4.6 grams of fiber.1 To reap the benefits, enjoy fava beans for breakfast or lunch. It’ll encourage mindful eating throughout the day.
2. Fava Beans Improves Digestion
The fiber in fava beans promotes healthy digestion. It isn’t digested by the body, so it bulks up your stool and makes “number two” more comfortable. See you later, constipation. The daily fiber recommendation is 20 to 30 grams, but most Americans only get 15. These beans will lend a hand. To avoid constipation, add fiber to your diet slowly. Don’t do it all at once and drink lots of water. Other sources include whole grain, fruits, veggies, and other beans.2
3. Fava Beans Reduces Cholesterol
In America, 73.5 million adults have high “bad” LDL cholesterol. About 31 million adults also have high total cholesterol. The latter doubles the risk of heart disease, so it’s crucial to control.3 Fiber in fava beans will do just that! It works by trapping bile. This liquid, which is needed for digestion, is made of cholesterol. When fiber leaves in the stool, it brings along bile. The body responds by breaking down LDL cholesterol to make more. The result? Lower LDL and total cholesterol.4
4. Fava Beans Decreases Heart Disease Risk
In America, heart disease is the top cause of death for men and women. Each year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart problems,5 stressing the importance of prevention. Foods like fava beans will help. Again, the fiber in fava beans will reduce cholesterol. But it has even more to brag about! Fava beans are low in sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat. All three should be limited, according to the American Heart Association.6 Plus, these beans have zero cholesterol and little calories, making it a must for heart health.
5. Fava Beans Promotes Healthy Blood
The top sources of iron are animal products, much like protein. However, fava beans double as a plant-based source. Half a cup has roughly 1.2 milligrams,7 about as much as 3-ounces of beef. Iron makes up hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. It makes sure every tissue and organ gets enough fuel. Additionally, this mineral is needed for DNA synthesis and energy. Without enough iron, deficiency can cause fatigue, fast heart rate, and palpitations. Oxygen deprivation of the muscles can also lead to weakness.8
Some people of Mediterranean descent may be allergic to fava beans. This is caused by an enzyme deficiency, so it’s vital to be careful. If you have Mediterranean blood, try a small amount of fava beans first.9
|↑1, ↑7||Basic Report: 16053, Broadbeans (fava beans), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑3||High Cholesterol Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑4||Lambeau, Kellen V., and Johnson W. McRorie. “Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy.” Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners 29, no. 4 (2017): 216-223.|
|↑5||Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑6||How to Help Prevent Heart Disease – At Any Age. American Heart Association.|
|↑8||Iron. Oregon State University.|
|↑9||Beans. UC Davis, Vegetable Research and Information Center.|