Lima beans are a type of legume that is consumed in many parts of the world. The Lima bean has many other names in different areas such as butter bean, Dixie bean, and Henderson bean among many others. Butter bean and Lima bean are the two most commonly used in the United States. However, some areas in the South think of the butter bean and Lima bean as two separate beans. In such areas, the yellow variety of the bean is referred to as the butter bean while the Lima bean is the green variety. Similar to other legumes, Lima beans have a good nutrition composition with many health benefits.

The nutrition composition of Lima beans

Since Lima beans are consumed at two different stages that is to say the immature and mature stages, their nutrition composition can differ significantly. The mature Lima bean has a richer nutrition composition than the immature one. However, some may prefer the immature bean for its rich buttery flavor. If a recipe does not specifically call for the immautrue bean, it is best to go for the mature Lima bean for its nutrition.

A bowl of green Lima beans

Lima beans pack a high number of Calories

Both the mature and immature Lima have a high calorie count. The immature bean is however, higher in calories by about 135kcal. Most of the calories in Lima beans come from protein and carbohydrates with nearly none from fat. For a calorie-conscious meal, Lima beans are best paired with low-calorie foods like yellow squash.

The different types of Carbohydrates in Lima beans

Lima beans are rich in carbohydrates. They contain three main types of carbohydrates; dietary fiber, oligosaccharides, and simple sugars. About 20% of the carbohydrates are sugars and the rest are complex carbohydrates. Both mature and immature Lima beans have a high proportion of dietary fiber. However, the mature beans have nearly 4 times the fiber of that in the immature beans.

Despite Lima beans being rich in complex carbohydrates, they are not suitable for low-carb diets. This is because their net carbohydrates are still high after complex carbs are deducted. The mature Lima bean has over 40g of net carbohydrates way above the total daily recommendation for low-carb diets.

Do Lima beans a more Protein than other beans?

Like a typical legume, Lima beans are a very rich protein source. As expected, Lima beans do not provide complete protein. They are lacking the essential amino acid methionine. The immature beans, however, do not provide adequate protein. For this reason, when cooking with immature Lima beans, you should add a second protein source like chicken chunks or mix them with another plant protein like lentils.

Lima beans served with salmon to maximize the protein content of a meal

Compared to other bean types, The Lima bean has a very high protein content. It has nearly 3 times the protein content of both Pinto beans and black-eyed peas.

No Fat in Lima beans

The Lima bean contains almost no fat. When cooking it is advisable to use oil or fat to cook. If you prefer to cook without oil, you can add a fat source like avocado or coconut cream.

The Lima bean as a vegetable

Lima beans have a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, they do not make a significant contribution to many of them. As a micronutrient source, Lima beans fall short of their expectations. Of all the micronutrients, folate and iron are the only ones in abundant amounts.

NutrientAmount in 100g of mature Lima beanAmount in 100g of immature Lima bean
Calories338kcal473kcal
Fat0.69g0.86g
Protein21.5g6.84g
Carbohydrates63.38g20.17g
Dietary fiber19g4.9g
Iron7.51mg3.14mg
Folate395µg34µg
The nutrition composition of both the mature and immature Lima bean

Health benefits of Lima beans

  • Protein source; Lima beans are a good source of protein which is an energy source and helps in muscle building.
  • Lima beans improve the health of the digestive system by providing oligosaccharides that support the health of the good bacteria in the gut.
  • Source of fiber; Lima beans have fiber which is beneficial to the health of the heart by lowering blood cholesterol.
  • Weight control; despite their high-calorie content, Lima beans may support weight loss by providing more protein and fiber. Protein and fiber improve the satiety of a meal therefore helping you avoid frequent snacking.
  • Lima beans contain folate a nutrient very important during pregnancy for the health of the fetus.

How to add Lima beans to your diet

Lima beans can be added to any dish that calls for beans. You can add Lima beans to broths, stews, soup, and pie fillings.

A delicious and nutritious Lima bean stew

It is advisable to soak Lima beans, especially if they are dried for at least 1 hour before cooking. This is because they can have a long cooking time if cooked without soaking.

Common Questions

Are Lima beans healthy?

Yes, Lima beans are a very healthy food. However, if a recipe calls for any type of beans, mature Lima beans are more nutritious.

Are Lima beans good for weight loss?

Lima beans can support weight loss but one must beware of their high calorie content.

Are Lima beans good for keto?

No, Lima beans are high in carbohydrates.

Are Lima beans a good source of protein?

Yes, Lima beans, especially the mature variety are very rich in protein. They are one of the best sources of protein among all bean types.

What is the nutritional value of Lima beans?

Lima beans are rich in protein and carbohydrates but low in fat. They have fair amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron and folate.

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