Lima Beans- Easy to Grow and Good to Eat


By Veronica Worley, July 9, 2020

So, you want to get off the couch and go outdoors to work in your garden but fatigue, dizziness and lack of energy are preventing you? Something has stolen your "umph" and you just want it back! The answer might be as simple as adding lima beans to your summer garden and to your diet.

I'll bet you didn't know that the simple Lima Bean is considered to be one of the world's healthiest vegetables! This legume is a must in your kitchen (and garden). Simple to grow, harvest, and prepare, and oh so delicious! Just grow and harvest like you would any dry bean or green pea. Freeze or can according to directions, and have this wonderful complete protein available year-round. For more detailed information on growing Lima Beans, see our National Gardening Books of Vegetables Collection

Lima beans are one of the highest iron-containing vegetables you can grow. This is quite impressive given the wide array of greens and vegetables that also are a rich source of iron. However, unlike lima beans, many of these other vegetables also contain substances like tannic acid, phytic acid and even some fiber or other minerals that inhibit absorption of iron. This can be easily remedied by simply adding a rich Vitamin C source with your meal, like tomatoes, fruit, or red peppers. Our faithful lima bean is also a good source of Vitamin C, so we do not need to concern ourselves with malabsorption of iron when consuming lima beans unless there are other issues going on in the body, like GERD, acid reflux, low stomach acid, or mineral imbalance. If you are concerned about any of these issues, or malabsorption of your food, then I recommend you see a Functional Nutrition Practitioner to help you overcome these naturally.

Iron is an essential nutrient required by the body in the production of healthy red blood cells. Studies show that nearly 70% of your body's iron is found in the hemoglobin and myoglobin, two types of proteins that help transport oxygen throughout the body. This is huge for energy production! The lowly lima bean is rich in iron, offering a whopping 4.5 mg. with every cup. This represents 25% of the USDA's daily iron requirement. Having good quality iron in the diet nourishes the red blood cells, gives energy to the body, and prevents iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia happens when the body is unable to produce enough healthy red blood cells due to lack of iron and can result when you don't get enough iron on a daily basis. Several ways this can occur include not consuming enough iron-rich foods (red meat, and green leafy vegetables), illness or medications that prevent iron absorption. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are: fatigue, dizziness, weakness, pale skin, headaches, fast heartbeat, cold hands and feet, and shortness of breath.

Benefits of Lima Beans

There are many benefits of adding lima beans to your menu. I have outlined a few for you:

  • Lowers cholesterol/heart disease – Lima beans are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Eating foods high in fiber lowers your risk of heart attack, stabilizes blood sugar, and is excellent for those with insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, and diabetes. Fiber provides slow-burning energy.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar – Being high in fiber, lima beans help keep blood sugar levels stable. Nerves/blood vessels/cardiovascular – Lima beans are a good source of magnesium which helps soothe the nerves and improves flow of blood to blood vessels. A deficiency of magnesium is associated with heart attacks. Additionally, after a heart attack, lima beans, help promote free radical energy, which reduces inflammation and disease.
  • Promotes energy – Lima Beans are high in iron (1 cup gives 24.9% of daily value), which promotes energy in the blood. Unlike red meat, lima beans are low in calories, high in fiber, and are fat-free.
  • Relieves constipation – Lima beans are high in fiber needed by the body to promote elimination (1 cup gives nearly 10 grams of fiber, whereas one slice whole wheat bread gives on 2.8 grams of fiber).
  • Excellent source of protein – 1 cup lima beans provides 38.2 grams protein. Protein builds muscle, decreases hunger, and helps with weight loss efforts.

If your garden does not have space to include this bean, then you can find it readily in any grocery store, in dry, canned, or frozen form. And, if you are lucky, you may be able to find them fresh at your local farmer's market. Many times they come already shelled for your convenience! If you can't find them fresh, I recommend buying the dry beans, then soaking, sprouting, and cooking according the package directions. It takes some forethought, but the health benefits and taste outweigh the work, in my opinion.

Lima beans have a delicate flavor that wins them the nickname "butter beans" because of their starchy yet buttery texture. Their hearty goodness makes for a great main dish or a bean soup.

Ways to eat lima beans:

  • Serve whole and sprinkle with seasoning.
  • Makes a great addition to soups.
  • Blend cooked lima beans and sweet potatoes together. Serve with your favorite grain and fresh salad or vegetable for a tasty meatless meal.
  • Use lima beans for a twist on humus. Add chopped garlic to pureed lima beans and fresh herbs of choice.
  • Use spread as a dip for crackers/crudités or as a sandwich/wrap filling.

Rich in nutrients, high in flavor, lima bean are "win-win" for anyone wanting home-grown vegetables for both nutrition and energy. Growing them is easy, and pleasurable as you work toward getting your vim and vigor back while also eating for good nutrition.

My Comforting Lima Bean Recipe
Three-Bean Succotash Recipe

About Veronica Worley
Thumb of 2020-06-10/Trish/5ee9ecVeronica Worley, MS, FDN-P, CHHC, is an avid gardener, who has gardened for nutrition over the past two decades. Having studied nutrition and now working as an FDN-P (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner), she has taught herself how to garden for the best nutrition, and has gone on to teach others the same. She has developed an edible landscape in her yard, and intentionally grows vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs for medicine and nutrition. She is in the process of writing her first book on Using Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers to Heal Your Body of Chronic Illness.

As an FDN-P, she helps men and women age gracefully and beautifully by getting to the root cause of belly fat, energy loss, hormone and mineral imbalance. She strongly believes that mineral imbalance is the root cause of most chronic symptoms and disease today. Using functional lab testing, food and lifestyle changes, one can overcome most diseases naturally without medication. And she teaches others how to grow their own food to help balance minerals in one's daily food and lifestyle.

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