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9 Benefits of eating fava beans and side effects

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Discover the 9 Health Benefits Of Eating Fava Beans and side effects.

The health benefits of fava beans contain very good properties for the body and are allies of the health of those who consume them regularly. In this article, we will describe the characteristics and benefits of fava beans for health.

What are beans?

Broad beans are legumes, perhaps the best known in the world from Central America, whose scientific name is Phaseolus vulgaris.

The broad bean plant is an annual climber, belonging to the legume family, which also includes lentils, peas, chickpeas, lupins, broad beans, green beans, peas, peanuts, and soybeans.

There are many varieties of broad beans, the main characteristic of which is the fruit of various shapes and colors found in a pod.

9 Health Benefits Of Eating Fava Beans


History of beans

The oldest known domestic beans were found in the Guitarrero cave in Peru and date back to the second millennium BC (about 4,000 years ago).

Genetic analysis of the common broad bean, Phaseolus, shows that it originated in Mesoamerica and later spread southward.

The Egyptians considered beans to be an emblem of life and had temples dedicated to them.

Later, the Greeks and Romans used them in festivals to worship their gods.

Nutrition facts of fava beans

Fava beans are composed mainly of carbohydrates, beans are an excellent source of fiber and vegetable protein, so much so that they are called a “meat substitute.”

They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that mainly supply potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B3, and folic acid.


In terms of caloric intake, fava beans develop 345 calories per 100 grams. Let’s take a look at the properties of beans and the characteristics of the nutrients present in the legume.

Fava beans properties

Fava beans are considered a source of vitamins and iron, it is undoubtedly one of the main foods to maintain a good diet and enjoy good health. Here are the main nutritional properties of beans:

Proteins: The protein content of beans is quite high (¼ of the weight), which makes these legumes particularly interesting for consumption by vegetarians or vegans.

In addition, the richness in proteins, fibers, and the low intake of sugars make them the ideal food also for those who suffer from glycemic disorders.

Carbohydrates: The main carbohydrate present in fava beans is starch, which represents approximately 48% of the total caloric content. Starch is made up of two polymers, amylose, and amylopectin.

Beans have a relatively high percentage of amylose compared to most other starchy food sources, a defining characteristic of the starch in these »slow-release« legumes as it is less easily digested than amylopectin.


The consumption of foods rich in slow-release starch causes a smaller and more gradual increase in blood sugar compared to other types of starch, which makes the consumption of beans is particularly indicated in people who suffer from diabetes or suffer from other disorders glycemic.

Fibers: Fava beans are an excellent source of fibers whose benefits are to increase the sense of satiety, improve intestinal transit and reduce the absorption of sugars and simple fats, especially cholesterol.

•  Vitamin C: Antioxidant par excellence, very common in fruits and vegetables and present in good quantities in beans, it is an essential cofactor in the synthesis of proteins and hormones, it contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, to the normal function of the immune system.

•  Folic acid (vitamin B9): Essential for normal cell function, tissue growth, to reduce physical and mental fatigue, and folate is very important for women’s health, especially during pregnancy and lactation.

•  Potassium: Fava beans are a good source of potassium, the essential mineral involved in the control of blood pressure, heart health, nerve transmission, and hydro-saline exchange at the cellular level.

Isoflavones: Class of antioxidants present in high amounts in soybeans. They have several more or less positive health effects and are classified as phytoestrogens due to their similarity to the female sex hormone, estrogen.


Anthocyanins: antioxidants and pigments present in large quantities in the skin of beans and that give food their characteristic color.

•  Phytohemagglutinin: Toxic lectin is found in large amounts in raw beans, especially red beans, which degrades with cooking.

Health benefits of eating fava beans

The synergy of the elements that you have just seen gives beans beneficial properties for the whole organism. Let’s see in detail what are benefits that these legumes bring.

1.- Benefits of fava beans for weight loss

Several studies have associated the consumption of fava beans with a lower risk of developing overweight and obesity, and this thanks to the fiber and protein content.


A 2010 study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, would have shown that, in overweight subjects, the consumption of legumes 4 times a week for 2 months would lead to a reduction in the pro-inflammatory state and greater weight loss compared to a diet that excludes these foods.

2.- Lactation and pregnancy

Fava beans are a good source of folate (vitamin B9), essential to prevent megaloblastic anemia and, especially, serious fetal malformations, such as neural tube defects (including spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele) and other malformations.


Adequate intake of vitamin B9 allows primary prevention of congenital malformations with a risk reduction of up to 70%.

3.- Benefits of fava beans for diabetes

The benefits of fava beans also extend to the prevention of diabetes: being rich in protein, fiber, slow-release carbohydrates, and a low glycemic index, these legumes are particularly effective in regulating blood glucose levels and therefore to prevent diabetes.

4.- Benefits of fava beans for cholesterol

Studies have confirmed that regular consumption of fava beans not only helps reduce total cholesterol but also bad cholesterol (LDL), which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

5.- Colon cancer prevention

An observational study from 2009 and a meta-analysis from 2013 linked the consumption of legumes (including lima beans) to a lower risk of developing colon cancer.

Thanks to the action of fibers, resistant starch and alpha-galactosides (prebiotics), which, upon reaching the colon, are fermented by beneficial bacteria, which stimulate their growth and cause the formation of different compounds, such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which work by improving the health of the colon and reducing the risk of cancer in this area.

6.- Maintains heart health

Beans are “heart-healthy” because they contain a large amount of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you prefer canned beans, you can get rid of up to 40 percent of the sodium by rinsing them with water.


7.- The longevity food number 1 in the world

Low-fat, fiber-packed lima beans are recognized as the longevity food of all diets.

8.- They are inexpensive

black beans are one of the most affordable protein sources available. Since they are much cheaper than meat or chicken and much healthier, many people choose to consume beans two or 3 times a week in their food or diet dishes.

9.- Feel full with fewer calories

Eating lima beans has been shown to increase feelings of fullness by 31 percent, resulting in less food intake and less body fat, even if calories are not restricted.

Uses of fava bean

For more absorption of the properties of the beans, the ideal portion is 150 g if they are fresh or frozen, 30-50 g if they are dry, 50 g for flour. To be consumed at least 3-4 times a week.

Tin grains should be avoided since they are rich in sodium (added to the storage liquid) and nickel due to the erosion of the metal container that would later be absorbed by our body.

If for practical reasons you want to buy them ready to use, it is better to opt for frozen beans, but it is recommended that you drain them and rinse them well before using them.


Adding fava beans to the diet is very simple, they can be a main dish, the dressing for pasta dishes, the central ingredient in a soup, or they can be eaten as an appetizer (great black bean hummus!).

Contraindications and side effects of fava beans

Fava beans provide a series of benefits to our health, their consumption is not without contraindications and it can also cause unpleasant side effects.

Toxicity: Raw lima beans are toxic to both humans and animals and this is caused by phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin particularly present in kidney beans.

The main symptoms of bean poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting and may require hospitalization. Soaking and cooking the beans removes most of the toxin, making the beans safe.

Anti-nutrients: Like all plant seeds, they contain a series of so-called anti-nutrients, they are substances that alter the absorption of nutrients.

The main antinutrients present in beans are phytic acid, a substance that hinders the absorption of certain minerals, such as iron and zinc; protease inhibitors, which inhibit the function of various digestive enzymes, compromising protein digestion.


Starch antagonists: alter the absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive tract.

Flatulence and bloating: Among the most well-known contraindications of beans we find intestinal disorders.

In some people, the consumption of these legumes can cause unpleasant effects such as abdominal bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea.

It is a reaction caused by some compounds, the oligosaccharides in fiber, which, when fermenting in the intestine, form gas.

Why eat beans?

• Very nutritious, a source of protein and iron, among other things.

• Very frugal, especially if you use dried beans.


• quite easy to acquire, they can be found in various presentations.

• It is not very time-consuming and can make great meals that are easy to freeze for simple dinners later.


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