Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about lima beans, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are a type of bean that is maybe not the most popular. Even so, this legume might deserve a spot in your weight loss diet. You can boil lima beans and then eat them on their own but they also make a great addition to a variety of recipes.
Like many legumes, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by eating more lima beans. Find out just how good lima beans are and ways to add them to your diet when trying to lose weight.
Micronutrients in lima beans
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in lima beans.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of boiled lima beans provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 26% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Folate: 21% of the DV
- Potassium: 15% of the DV
- Iron: 13% of the DV
- Copper: 12% of the DV
- Thiamin: 11% of the DV
- Magnesium: 11% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 8% of the DV
- Zinc: 6% of the DV
- Selenium: 6% of the DV
And a few others in smaller amounts. These are great amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to many other whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals lima beans can be a good food to add to your diet for certain micronutrients.
Lima beans also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in lima beans for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Lima beans contain around 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
This is a very big amount compared to many other foods. For most people more fiber is a good thing for weight loss.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in lima beans you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a very big amount.
Protein in lima beans for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Lima beans contain about 7.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2). Lima beans are a decent source of plant-based protein but also a decent source of protein in general.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in lima beans is decent for a plant-based source of protein. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but some lima beans can get you started towards your daily goals.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Are lima beans good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can eat lima beans while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in lima beans.
Lima beans contain around 115 calories per 100 grams. 84.8 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (20.9 g per 100 grams of which 7 g fiber). 1 cup of boiled lima beans (188 g) contains about 216 calories.
You might be able to fit in some lima beans but they are generally not suited for low carb diets like the keto diet.
The number of calories in lima beans is higher than most vegetables and fruits but even with that in mind this number is low compared to many other foods. Lima beans are even one of the lowest-calorie beans.
Together with the big amount of fiber and a nice amount of protein this means that lima beans can help you feel fuller without adding that many calories to your diet.
This can help you avoid higher-calorie foods. And for most people that, and thus adding lima beans to their daily diet, is enough to help them lose weight.
In theory, you can overdo it with lima beans in terms of calories, in that case they could be fattening. In reality, you will likely feel too full before you reach that point with lima beans.
Do keep in mind that some people are allergic to lima beans. These inviduals should avoid this food anyway.
How to eat lima beans for weight loss
You can implement lima beans in different ways into your diet. Some are better than others for weight loss. You definitely need to cook lima beans before eating them. Boiling is the preferred cooking method if you’re trying to lose weight.
After that you can eat them on their own or as an ingredient in other healthy dishes. Here are some examples of weight loss friendly recipes you can add lima beans to:
Another popular combination is lima beans with bacon. Pork is decent for weight loss so this combination can definitely be part of a good weight loss diet.