Health Benefits of Lima Beans

Exploring The 15 Health Benefits of Lima Beans: A Detailed Guide


It’s fascinating how the simplest foods are sometimes packed with the most benefits. One such underappreciated food that warrants more attention is the Lima bean. Though often overlooked in favor of more common legumes, Lima beans are a nutritional powerhouse offering various health benefits. In this guide, we delve into the fifteen health benefits of Lima beans, their nutritional value, and why they should be included in your regular diet.

What are Lima Beans? 

Benefits of Lima BeansLima beans, also known as butter beans, are a type of legume native to Central and South America. Named after Lima in Peru, these beans have been cultivated for thousands of years for their edible seeds. Lima beans have a unique, slightly sweet flavor and a creamy texture, making them a versatile ingredient in various dishes. They can be found in various forms, such as fresh, dried, and canned, each with a slightly different taste and texture.

Nutritional Profile

A single cup (about 170 grams) of cooked Lima beans offers:

Health Benefits of Lima Beans

  • Calories: 216
  • Protein: 11.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.7 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 40.2 grams
  • Fiber: 11.6 grams
  • Sugars: 2.9 grams

The Health Benefits of Lima Beans

  • A Powerhouse of Nutrients: Lima beans are an excellent source of vital nutrients. They are rich in dietary fiber and protein, making them an ideal food for maintaining overall health. Moreover, they are low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. Their impressive mineral content includes copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, all essential for various bodily functions. Furthermore, Lima beans contain vitamins like folate, thiamin (vitamin B1), and vitamin B6.
  • Weight Management: Lima beans can be valuable to any weight management diet plan. Thanks to their high fiber and protein content, they promote a feeling of fullness, thus reducing the urge to snack between meals. This can prevent overeating, which is a common hurdle in weight loss.
  • Heart Health: Several elements in Lima beans contribute to heart health. They contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, or “bad” cholesterol, a major contributor to heart disease. Furthermore, they are a good source of potassium, which is known to maintain healthy blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium.
  • Diabetes Management: The high fiber content of Lima beans can help regulate blood sugar levels, making them an excellent food choice for individuals with diabetes. Dietary fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which can help prevent spikes in blood glucose levels. This can result in better overall blood sugar control.
  • Promotes Digestive Health: Fiber, one of the key nutrients in Lima beans, plays a vital role in maintaining digestive health. It adds bulk to the stool, which can help prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements. This, in turn, supports a healthy gut and may even help prevent certain digestive conditions, such as diverticulosis.
  • Stabilizes Blood Pressure: The significant potassium content in Lima beans makes them beneficial for those with high blood pressure. Potassium relaxes the walls of blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing blood pressure. This can decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Strengthens Immunity: Lima beans are loaded with antioxidants that help combat harmful free radicals, thus boosting the immune system. Iron further supports the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells, the body’s primary defense against pathogens.
  • Cancer Prevention: Rich in antioxidants, Lima beans may contribute to cancer prevention. Antioxidants like flavonoids are known to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. They also counteract oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer.
  • Boosts Energy Levels: Lima beans are a good source of slow-digesting carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy. They are also rich in B vitamins crucial for converting food into energy. Including Lima beans in your diet can help keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day.
  • Promotes Bone Health: Lima beans contain minerals essential for bone health, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These nutrients are key in maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones.
  • Improves Skin Health: The antioxidants present in Lima beans can protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to premature aging. Moreover, they are a good source of copper, a mineral that aids in producing collagen, a protein necessary for skin elasticity and health.
  • Supports Mental Health: Several nutrients found in Lima beans are essential for mental health. Folate and vitamin B6, for instance, are crucial for producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can help to combat mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • Anemia Prevention: Lima beans are a good source of iron, a mineral essential for producing red blood cells. Consuming iron-rich foods like Lima beans can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia, a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells.
  • Promotes Healthy Pregnancy: Folate is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, and Lima beans are a great source. Adequate folate intake is crucial during early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the newborn.
  • Potential Role in Muscle Growth: Lima beans can be beneficial for muscle growth and repair thanks to their high protein content. They provide the body with amino acids, the building blocks of protein needed to build and repair tissues, including muscles.

Lima Beans Recipe Ideas

Lima beans’ creamy texture and subtly sweet flavor make them a versatile ingredient in numerous dishes. Here are a few delightful recipes to help you incorporate more of these nutritious beans into your meals:

1. Lima Bean and Vegetable Soup


  • 2 cups Lima beans (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until onions are translucent.
  2. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the Lima beans, vegetable broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 1-1.5 hours, or until beans are tender.
  5. Remove bay leaf, adjust seasonings, and serve hot garnished with fresh parsley.

2. Creamy Lima Bean Mash


  • 2 cups Lima beans (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 3 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives, finely chopped (for garnish)


  1. Cook Lima beans in a pot of boiling water until they are soft and easily mashed.
  2. Drain the beans and return them to the pot.
  3. Add butter (or olive oil), garlic, and milk (or cream). Mash until smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chives before serving.

3. Lima Bean Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing


  • 2 cups cooked Lima beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, mix Lima beans, red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and parsley.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the Lima bean mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

4. Lima Bean and Tomato Casserole


  • 2 cups Lima beans (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional for a vegan version)
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the soaked Lima beans to the skillet and stir well.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
  7. If using, sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the Lima beans are tender and the top is golden.
  9. Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh basil leaves, and serve warm.

5. Lima Bean Tacos with Avocado Cream


For the Tacos:

  • 2 cups cooked Lima beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortillas

For the Avocado Cream:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small chili pepper, chopped (optional for added heat)


  1. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  3. Add the cooked Lima beans and cook for another 5 minutes, occasionally mashing some beans with the back of a spoon for texture.
  4. For the avocado cream, blend together avocado, Greek yogurt, lime juice, salt, and chili pepper (if using) in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  5. To assemble the tacos, spread a dollop of avocado cream on each tortilla, top with Lima bean mixture, fold, and serve immediately.

6. Lima Bean Hummus


  • 2 cups cooked Lima beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika and fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In a food processor, blend Lima beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin until smooth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, adjusting to taste.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with pita bread or vegetable sticks.

7. Lima Bean and Spinach Curry


  • 2 cups Lima beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder (adjust according to heat preference)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down and form a paste.
  4. Add curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Add the soaked Lima beans and mix until they are coated with the spices.
  6. Pour in the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the Lima beans are tender.
  7. Once the beans are cooked, stir in the chopped spinach and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander. This curry pairs well with rice or flatbreads.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lima Beans

Are Lima beans the same as butter beans? 

While both terms are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference. Lima beans typically refer to green, flat beans, whereas butter beans are the more prominent, cream-colored variety. However, they are essentially the same species and share similar taste and nutritional profiles.

Can you eat Lima beans raw?

No, it would help if you didn’t eat Lima beans raw. They contain linamarin, which, when consumed, can turn into cyanide in the stomach. Always ensure Lima beans are well-cooked before consumption to neutralize this compound.

How long do I need to cook Lima beans?

If you’ve soaked Lima beans overnight, they typically require around 60-90 minutes of boiling. Without soaking, they might take longer. It’s essential to cook them until they’re soft and thoroughly done to ensure they’re safe and enjoyable to eat.

Are Lima beans keto-friendly?

Lima beans, like most legumes, are higher in carbohydrates. While they can be included in a keto diet in tiny portions, they’re not typically considered a staple for those strictly following this low-carb regimen.

How should I store dried Lima beans?

Store dried Lima beans in a cool, dark, and dry place. When stored properly in a sealed container, they can last for up to a year.

Can I substitute Lima beans for other beans in recipes?

Yes, you can! Depending on the recipe, Lima beans can often be substituted for other beans like navy beans, cannellini beans, or chickpeas. However, the taste and texture may vary slightly.

Are Lima beans gluten-free?

Yes, Lima beans are naturally gluten-free. However, if you’re buying packaged products or eating them at a restaurant, always ensure no cross-contamination or added gluten-containing ingredients.

Do Lima beans cause gas?

Like other legumes, Lima beans contain certain sugars and fibers that can lead to gas in some individuals. Rinse the beans well after soaking and cook them thoroughly to reduce this effect. Starting with smaller portions and gradually increasing them can also help your body adjust.

Are Lima beans suitable for a vegan or vegetarian diet?

Absolutely! Lima beans are a plant-based protein source, making them an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians.

How can I enhance the flavor of my Lima beans?

Lima beans pair well with various herbs and spices, such as garlic, onions, bay leaves, cumin, thyme, and smoked paprika. Incorporating these can elevate the flavor of your Lima bean dishes.

We hope this FAQ section provides a clearer understanding of Lima beans, ensuring you can incorporate them into your diet safely and deliciously!

The Bottom Line

Health Benefits of Lima BeansLima beans are more than just a tasty addition to your meals. They are nutrient-dense powerhouses that offer myriad health benefits. From managing weight, supporting heart health, boosting immunity, and promoting mental health, these humble legumes have much to offer.

Incorporating Lima beans into your diet can provide essential nutrients and promote overall health. So, the next meal you plan, consider adding some Lima beans to the mix. Your body will thank you!


  • General Information Only: This article is intended solely for informational purposes and does not provide medical, nutritional, or health advice.
  • No Medical Claims: The content herein does not aim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.
  • Professional Consultation: Before making any significant dietary changes or relying on the purported health benefits of lima beans, always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.
  • Individual Responses: Health benefits derived from lima beans can vary among individuals; what works for one person might not necessarily work for another.
  • Potential Allergens: While uncommon, some individuals might experience allergies or intolerances to lima beans. Exercise caution, especially if introducing them to your diet for the first time.
  • Current Scientific Understanding: The health benefits mentioned in this article are based on research and studies available as of its publication date. Subsequent research might evolve or change these findings.
  • Interactions with Medications: Lima beans might interact with certain medications or conditions. Consult with a healthcare provider if you’re under medication or if you have concerns about potential interactions.
  • Moderation is Vital: Even if lima beans have health benefits, excessive consumption may lead to undesired effects. It’s always best to consume in moderation.
  • Variability: Not all lima beans are the same. Their health benefits can vary based on their variety, how they’re grown, processed, and prepared.
  • Not Universal: The experiences and benefits discussed may not apply universally, and individual experiences with lima beans may differ.
  • Accuracy & Neutrality: Every effort has been made to present an unbiased and accurate account, but the article might still have unintentional biases or overlook certain perspectives.
  • Verify with Multiple Sources: For any health-related decisions, always consult multiple trusted sources and not rely solely on this article.
  • Possible Errors: While we strive for accuracy, there might be inadvertent errors, inaccuracies, or outdated information in the article.
  • Special Populations Caution: Children, pregnant or lactating women, and individuals with certain health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before consuming lima beans or any new food in substantial amounts.
  • Personal Responsibility: Ultimately, the choice to consume lima beans and the reliance on their purported health benefits is at the discretion and risk of the reader.

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