Most varieties of beans, such as kidney, black, pinto, and white beans, have an acidifying effect on your body pH. But there’s one exceptional bean that’s more than just alkalizing. It contains no less than 12 Foundation Supplements. And that’s great news, especially during the winter, since beans are a delicious and cozy comfort food.
I’m referring to the lima bean (also known as butter bean). Not surprisingly, it’s listed as a Foundation Food in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program and for that reason, Bone Appétit, contains quite a few lima bean recipes.
In today’s post you’ll read all about the bone-healthy attributes of lima beans and you’ll get a scrumptious brand new recipe.
So let’s take a closer look at this nutrient-rich bean.
Facts About Lima Beans
Sometimes called butter beans, lima beans are named for Lima, Peru, a city where this healthy legume has been consumed for over 6,000 years. In some areas of the United States, butter beans are considered different than lima beans, and refer to a specific type of lima that is larger, yellower, and flatter. Butter beans also tend to have a softer texture than the standard variety. But their nutritional profile is similar.
Here in the United States, we do not see lima beans in their pods very often. But they grow in flat, curved, green pods that are about three inches long. When properly cooked, limas have a texture not unlike mashed potatoes.
15 Bone-Building Nutrients in Lima Beans!
You might be surprised about this: lima beans are a good source of calcium. In fact, they contain 15 bone-healthy nutrients, 12 of which are Foundation Supplements.
In 1 cup of cooked lima beans, you’ll find:
- Calcium*: 50mg
- Molybdenum: 142 mcg (more on this interesting micronutrient later)
- Magnesium*: 81mg
- Zinc*: 1.79mg
- Copper*: 0.442mg
- Potassium: 955mg
- Vitamin B1* (Thiamine): .303mg
- Vitamin B2* (Riboflavin): .103mg
- Vitamin B3* (Niacin): 0.791mg
- Vitamin B5* (Pantothenic Acid): 0.793mg
- Vitamin B6*: .303mg
- Vitamin B9* (Folate): 156mcg
- Vitamin K*: 3.8mcg
- Manganese*: .97mg
- Phosphorus: 209mg
How Lima Beans Help Your Bones
Because of their excellent nutrient content, lima beans have a place in a pH-balanced, bone-healthy diet. In Bone Appétit, the companion cookbook to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, there are many recipes containing these healthful legumes. Mouth-watering yet easy-to-prepare dishes such as hummus, chili, and quesadillas all feature limas.
Lima beans’ exemplary calcium content earned them a place in Calcilicious, one of the bonuses included with Bone Appétit. Calcilicious offers calcium-rich, dairy-free recipes that you can add to your bone-healthy diet.
More Health Benefits
The Save Our Bones philosophy is that what is good for your overall health is also good for your bones. After all, a balanced body environment is conducive to building and maintaining bone tissue.
Lima beans offer all sorts of “whole-body” health benefits. For example, their high fiber content makes them ideal for cleansing the body of toxins and getting your digestion moving. Fiber also reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Thanks to their relatively high protein content and the aforementioned fiber, lima beans have a low rating on the glycemic index, so your blood sugar won’t spike after eating them. Lima beans are good for your heart health, too – a 1999 study that spanned 7 countries and included 16,000 participants showed that higher consumption of legumes resulted in an 82% decrease in heart disease risk.1
Molybdenum And Manganese: Components Of Crucial Enzyme Reactions
Molybdenum has a reputation as a “buffer” for sulfite reactions. For some people, the sulfites added to foods like wine, salad bar fare, and dried fruit can cause an allergic reaction, with symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and/or headache.
Interestingly, molybdenum is a component of sulfite oxidase, an enzyme that is crucial for detoxifying sulfites in your body.
So a bowl of lima beans may be just the thing to calm or prevent a sulfite reaction.
Manganese is also a trace mineral that, among other important roles, is required for the antioxidant action of superoxide dismutase, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that “repairs cells and reduces the damage done to them by superoxide, the most common free radical in the body,” as I write in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
What Is The Best Form Of Lima Bean (Canned, Frozen, Fresh, Dried, Or Other.)?
Many foods lose nutrients in the canning process, but beans retain most of theirs when canned, and the fiber and protein content remain unchanged. However, be aware that most cans are lined inside with a coating that contains Bisphenol A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen that breaks down very easily and leaches into food. BPA can cause a litany of health problems, including brain damage, reduced male fertility, breast and prostate cancers, and birth defects.
Fresh, organically grown lima beans would be ideal; but for most of us, dried or frozen are the main choices available. I recommend dried lima beans first and frozen second. You’ll find that the lima bean recipes in Bone Appétit call for “cooked” limas – this refers to the dried legumes that have been cooked.
Selection And Storage Tips
If you choose frozen lima beans, shake the bag a bit to make sure they are separate and not frozen into a solid clump. (That happens if the beans have been thawed and re-frozen.) You don’t have to thaw frozen limas first; you can cook with them directly from the freezer.
Dried beans should be relatively uniform in shape and size. Soaking them in cold water overnight is a good way to decrease the gas-producing sugars present in the beans.
For both frozen and dried, I suggest removing them from their plastic bags and storing them in glass containers in the freezer or pantry.
Now here’s the brand new 100% alkalizing lima bean recipe I promised you earlier. It’s perfect for cold weather!
Cozy Comfort Soup
1/2 pound dried large lima beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf (optional)
5 cups vegetable stock
1 sweet potato, cooked
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
Black pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Note: if you'd like a sweeter version of this soup, you can add 1 tablespoon of honey or to taste.
- The night before you plan to make the soup, soak the lima beans overnight in cool water. Drain and rinse the beans before starting the soup.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion, and sauté until tender. Add the garlic and bay leaf and sauté for another minute. Add the drained lima beans and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender (it could take up to 2 hours). Add salt in the last half hour of cooking. Discard the bay leaf.
- While the soup is simmering, peel the previously cooked sweet potato. Combine the sweet potato flesh and one-third of the soup (including liquid and beans) in a blender. (Here's where you can add the 1 tablespoon honey.) Process until smooth.
- Return the purée to the pot and stir well. You can add water or more stock if you like a thinner consistency.
- Season with more sea salt (if necessary) and black pepper. Simmer and heat soup to desired temperature. Serve hot garnished with parsley.
1 Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, et al. Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Jul;15(6):507-15. 1999.