- Lima beans are important sources of plant proteins. 100 g beans carry 338 calories and provide 21.46 g or 38% of daily recommended intake of protein. In addition, lima are rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols.
- They, fresh or dried, contain substantial amounts of dietary fiber (50% per100g RDA). Dietary fiber functions as bulk laxative that helps to protect the colon mucosa by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon. Dietary fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing re-absorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon.
- Unlike soybeans, lima contain very small amounts of isoflavones. Isoflavones such as genistein and daidzeinhave been found to protect breast cancer in laboratory animals. However, they possess plant sterols (phytosterols) especially ß-sitosterol that help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
- Fresh as well as dry lima are an excellent source of folates. 100 g dry mature beans provide 395 µg or 99% of folates. Folate, along with vitamin B-12, is one of the essential co-factor for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception and during pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the newborn baby.
- Lima as well as thin butter beans are very rich sources of many B-complex vitamins, especially vitamin-B6(pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins functions as co-enzymes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.