Beans and legumes are one of the healthiest vegetables. Containing dense nutrients in tiny packages, beans bring about a multitude of health benefits that include boosting immune function, prevention of certain diseases, and more. Fava beans, one of the most underrated of all kinds of beans, may not be so popular but it may be time you rethink about adding this to your dishes. But are fava beans good for you? Packed with nutrients and plenty of disease-fighting compounds, fava beans are the springtime vegetable you need to add to your healthy diet today.
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What are Fava Beans?
Fava beans are also known as broad beans. They are a springtime crop with origins in the Mediterranean and have been consumed since 6000 BCE. It is a staple in many dishes in Rome, Greece, Israel, and the Middle East. In terms of taste, fava beans have a buttery, nutty, and delicate taste with a slight trace of bitterness. They go perfectly well with salads and as primary ingredients to sauces and fillings. When dried, they’re great as snacks. When it comes to nutrients, fava beans are packed with vitamins and minerals that include Vitamin C, folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and contain plenty of antioxidants that boost overall health.
Health Benefits of Fava Beans
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of consuming fava beans:
- Ideal for Weight Loss – The high carbohydrate content in fava beans can make you fuller for longer. This means it increases your satiety, and therefore, your appetite will be suppressed, leading to better weight management and weight loss.
- Blood Sugar Control – What makes fava beans ideal for individuals with diabetes is it contains slow-releasing carbohydrates. This means that it helps in the control of blood sugar levels, making it an ideal food choice for people who have diabetes.
- Pregnancy and Lactation – Fava beans have high levels of folate or Vitamin B9. This prevents anemia and serious fetal malformations. Studies have shown that adequate folate levels in the body during pregnancy can prevent congenital malformations by up to 70%.
- Heart Health – High soluble fiber content lowers bad cholesterol levels in the body, as well as decreases triglyceride levels, leading to healthier cardiovascular health. High amounts of magnesium can also lower blood pressure, leading to improved heart health. Potassium in fava beans can also reduce blood pressure, reducing the risks of stroke and heart attack.
- Colon Cancer Prevention – With high fiber content, fava beans have been found to lower the risk of developing colon cancer. Fiber, starch, and prebiotics present in fava beans bind with good bacteria in the gut to produce different compounds like acetate, butyrate, and propionate to improve the health of the colon.
- Lowers Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease – Fava beans have been known to help control the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Improved levels of L-dopa and C-dopa in the blood have been seen to improve the motor performance of patients.
Check out what Dr. Axe says about fava beans here.
Are Fava Beans Healthy?
Yes, fava beans are completely healthy. They are considered to be a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and bring about a host of health benefits.
Here are some of the nutrients found in fava beans:
- Protein – Fava beans are a great source of protein, making them an ideal food for vegans or anyone looking for a protein alternative to meat.
- Carbohydrates – Fava beans contain 48% carbohydrates in the form of starch. Starch is a slow-release carbohydrate that causes a small and gradual increase in blood sugar, helping to control blood sugar levels.
- Folic Acid or Folate – Folate is essential for energy metabolism, healthy red blood cells, normal cell function, tissue growth, and reducing mental and physical fatigue.
- Potassium – Potassium levels in fava beans contribute to blood pressure control and heart health.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is another nutrient in fava beans that help improve heart health.
What are Fava Beans Good For?
Fava beans are good for many kinds of dishes. It is a common staple in many Mediterranean cuisines, such as in Greek, Roman and Middle Eastern cuisine. They are an important ingredient in soups, sauces, fillings, and salads. They can be eaten raw, dried, steamed, and cooked.
Try fava beans in this recipe from Broke Bank Vegan. Sopa de habas (or fava bean soup) is a hearty Mexican meal filled with creamy fava beans, fresh vegetables, and tasty herbs and spices. This one-pot recipe makes a quick and easy dish to prep for the whole week ahead!
Are Fava Beans Anti-Inflammatory?
Yes, fava beans are anti-inflammatory due to the presence of phytonutrients and antioxidants in the vegetable. The high fiber and protein content in fava beans also help to boost the immune system, as well as to lower inflammation. On one hand, beans have been notorious for causing inflammation in the body due to the presence of lectin. However, soaking the beans, sprouting, and cooking them can neutralize their lectin content.
Where to Buy Fresh Fava Beans
There are some great options for buying fresh fava beans online. Try the following companies for the freshest available: Bob’s Red Mill, Thrive Market, Fresh frozen from amazon. If you’re looking for a special gift for someone, try the fava beans here from nuts.com. And checkout the specialty nut baskets while you’re there.
So are fava beans good for you? Yes! Fava beans are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that help in improving your overall health. From colon cancer prevention to improved heart health and helping to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, fava beans are a great springtime crop you should have in your kitchen.
The information contained in this website is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor.