Fresh lima beans are often difficult to find, but are worth looking for. They are sometimes called “butter beans” because of their buttery texture. Their pod is flat and wide, with 2 to 4 flat kidney-shaped seeds inside, which we call lima beans. Although the seeds are usually cream or green in colour, they also come in a number of different colours, including white, red, purple, brown or black.
As with other legumes, lima beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre. Their high fibre content also prevents blood sugar levels from spiking too fast after a meal, making them great for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or low blood sugar. When combined with brown rice, they make up a virtually fat free high quality protein. They are also a good source of iron, helping keep our energy up, as well as manganese, which is essential for an enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD), which disarms free radicals which are made in the mitochondria (our energy factories) in our bodies.
If you are sensitive to sulphites, and get a rapid heartbeat and headache from them, then you may find lima beans to be beneficial. Lima beans are a great source of molybdenum, which is essential for producing the enzyme sulphite oxidase, which helps to detoxify sulphites in our bodies. You might find that your sensitivity to sulphites is due to your molybdenum stores in the body being too low.
Lima beans are good for the heart
Not only do lima beans have fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol, they also have significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate helps to lower homocysteine in the body by helping with an important detoxification pathway in the liver called methylation. High homocysteine levels have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease.
Lima beans are also a good source of magnesium. This is also essential in the body. Magnesium helps arteries and veins to relax, decreasing resistance and improving the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients around the body. Magnesium is also essential for allowing muscles to relax.