Butter beans

Studies have revealed the benefits of potassium rich diet in lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of strokes. American Heart Association recommends butter beans or lima beans to control blood pressure.

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Potassium, sodium and blood pressure

Blood pressure is vital for blood circulation throughout the body. If the blood pressure increases, it implies that the heart has to work against a load. It has to pump blood harder to reach the vital body organs. Over time, this strains the heart and causes atherosclerosis and end organ problems. This could lead to heart attack and stroke.

Butter beans
Butter beans (Source: Pinterest)

High salt or sodium intake is linked with high blood pressure. This is because sodium has an osmotic action. It pulls blood into the blood vessels and this raises the pressure inside them. Whereas potassium has the opposite action. It relaxes the walls of the blood vessels and also pushes sodium out of the body via the renal regulatory system. Thus, it helps in lowering the blood pressure. And studies have shown that potassium rich foods can reduce blood pressure and lessen the risk of stroke by 24%.

Butter beans-high potassium

The American Heart Association has advised people of high blood pressure to consume butter beans or lima beans. In every 100 grams of these beans, there are 508 mg of potassium. An equivalent amount of bananas provides only 358 mgs of potassium.

A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Heart Association stated that an adequate intake of potassium goes a long way to keep blood pressure under check. Their article read:

We identified a nonlinear relationship between potassium intake and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, although estimates for blood pressure effects of high potassium intakes should be interpreted with caution because of limited availability of trials,”

“Our findings indicate an adequate intake of potassium is desirable to achieve a lower blood pressure level but suggest excessive potassium supplementation should be avoided, particularly in specific subgroups.”

Butter beans
Lima beans (Source: Pinterest)

NHS states that in a day a healthy adult requires 3500 mg of potassium in diet. And butter beans could help in this.

Butter beans uses

The other names of butter beans are double beans, lima beans, sieva beans, wax beans or Madagascar beans. These beans were first cultivated in Peru and are found in Central and South America. In the USA and the UK, these beans are available as dried beans that needs rehydration or the canned beans. The latter are ready to use.

Though butter and lima beans terms are used interchangeably, lima beans are smaller and green while butter beans are larger and white or yellow in color.

Butter beans
Butter bean curry (Source: EatMee recipes)

These beans are soaked overnight and cooked in the morning to make a curry. In Valencia, it is made into Paella that is a rice dish. This dish is cooked in olive oil and chicken broth along with other non -vegetarian meat of duck, rabbit, chicken etc. 100 grams of cooked beans provide 115 calories and has 20.88 grams of carbs. Sugar is just 2.9 grams. Dietary fiber content is 7 grams in it. And protein is also around 7.8 grams. Fats are just 0.38 grams.

The beans are rich in vitamin B, E, and K. Besides potassium, it has high levels of iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. It also has 2.2 micrograms of fluoride in 100 grams of cooked beans. It has both soluble and insoluble fiber. Thus, consumption of these beans can control blood sugar and blood bad cholesterol too. It helps overcome constipation and regulates bowel movements.

Also, read Sample menu plan of a sugar free diet!

However, they have phytohaemmaglutinin and anti-nutrients. Hence boiling for at least 10 minutes is essential before eating them. Soaking, toasting, and germination of these beans can also decrease the levels of these anti-nutrients.