The Lowdown on Lima Beans

Since I shared my tasty Lima Bean Taco recipe, I thought I would give you some info about the lowly Lima Bean.  It was named for the capital of Peru, where lima beans have been cultivated for over 7,000 years!  They are sometimes referred to as “butter beans”, but the canned butter beans in the store do look and taste a bit different.  I prefer the lima beans 🙂  You can put your hands on lima beans any time of the year, and they are an economical and versatile protein/carbohydrate food.  Here are some reasons why YOU should be adding lima beans (and other beans as well) to your weekly meals……

*The protein, fiber, folate, potassium, and magnesium in lima beans makes them a heart-healthy food.

*The fiber in lima beans provides you with long-lasting energy that keeps your blood sugar stable.

*Lima beans (and other types of beans) may provide cancer protection.

*Lima beans (and other types of beans) contain antioxidants that fight pesky free radicals.  Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause oxidation and damage at the cellular level.  Have you ever observed the missing paint on old aluminum siding?  That’s oxidation 🙁

*Lima beans are a very good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to create serotonin in your body.  Serotonin is the “feel good” chemical that keeps us happy and upbeat.

*You don’t need to refrigerate dried or canned (unopened) lima beans.  They have a shelf life of up to 12 months.  They are easy to prepare, and canned beans require NO COOKING 🙂

*Rinse canned beans under cold running water to wash off starches and improve digestion.  I recommend the EDEN brand of organic canned beans.  They are cooked with kombu, a sea vegetable rich in iodine.

*If you are cooking dried beans, add 4 cups of water for every cup of beans.  Soak for 8 hours (or overnight).  Always drain and rinse again before cooking.  Don’t add salt until after the beans are completely cooked.  Don’t add anything acidic (like tomatoes or wine) until the beans are completely cooked.  Acid reacts with the starch in the beans and prevents them from swelling and cooking properly.

Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan

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