Lentils or legumes are one of the primary sources of protein for vegetarians. In India, we consume lentils as the humble dal that forms a staple part of practically all our meals. Other legumes such as French beans, peanuts and soya beans are also important components of the healthy vegetarian diet. Recently, we came across a new kind of legume known as 'butter beans'. What exactly are butter beans and where are they originally from? Do they offer any health benefits when compared with regular beans or are they similar in terms of their nutritional quotient? Here's all you need to know about this unique legume.
What Are Butter Beans?
Butter beans are a variety of legumes that have a larger size, creamy texture and a light green coloured pod with beige-coloured beans inside it. The plant's name 'lunatus' comes from its shape which resembles a half-moon.
History Of Butter Beans | What Are Butter Beans Also Known As?
Butter beans are also called lima beans, Madagascar beans, sieva beans or wax beans. They were originally from Peru and hence are also called 'Lima Beans' after the capital of Peru, that is, Lima. Butter beans have now become a staple crop across North America and are being recognised as a healthy source of nutrition worldwide.
(Also Read: Here's Why You Should Add More Beans To Your Diet)
Health Benefits Of Butter Beans | What Are Butter Beans Good For?
Lima beans or butter beans offer a host of health benefits. They are a good source of protein, fibre and iron and provide our body with significant quantities of these. As per USDA data, a 100-gram serving of butter beans can provide us with 8 grams of protein, 7 grams of fibre and so much more.
Here Are 5 Health Benefits Of Butter Beans:
- Excellent for Weight Loss - Thanks to the amazing protein and fibre content, butter beans may help you stay full for longer and also ease the digestion process thus aiding weight loss in the long run.
- Improve Heart Health - Butter beans do not contain any trans fats, in spite of their creamy texture. These beans are also filled with potassium and soluble fibres that may regulate blood pressure.
- Maintains a Healthy Brain - Their excellent nutritional profile, including minerals like copper and manganese, maintains healthy brain functioning.
- Prevents Anaemia - A naturally iron-rich food for vegetarians, butter beans may also play a role in the prevention of anaemia.
- Good for Diabetics - Studies have proven that butter beans may regulate blood sugar levels. They are also low on the glycemic index and are high in fibre which keeps diabetes in check.
How To Cook With Butter Beans
Butter beans or lima beans can be incorporated into the daily diet for maximum health benefits. You must remember to remove the outer pod and not consume these beans raw as they can be toxic. It is best to soak them overnight and boil them for the best results, just like with rajma or chole. You can incorporate butter beans in salads, stir-fries or make dips with them by making the best use of their creamy texture. Interestingly, butter beans are also used extensively in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Click here for some South Indian recipes you can try using butter beans.
About Aditi AhujaAditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.