Lima Beans Facts and Health Benefits



Lima Bean Quick Facts
Name: Lima Bean
Scientific Name: Phaseolus lunatus
Origin Central and South America and also cultivated in warm, semi-tropical regions for its beans.
Colors Green or cream
Shapes Oblong, Length: 15 cm
Taste Bland delicate
Calories 176 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Manganese (82.39%)
Iron (61.25%)
Copper (55.11%)
Isoleucine (41.03%)
Vitamin C (40.56%)
Health benefits Reduce Arthritis, Enhance sleep, Detoxify body, Protects nerves, Reduce Anemia
The Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus) also known as Butter Bean, Burma Bean, Java Bean, Large White Bean and Sugar Bean is semi- tropical plant native to Central and South America. It is widely cultivated in warm, semi-tropical regions for its beans. Not only the legumes from this tropical plant are edible but also different parts of the plants are also eaten such as dry mature seeds, young leaves, shoots, young pods and sprouts are also consumed.


It is believed to be originated in Guatemala or Peru where it was grown for over 7000 years. After Columbus discovered America, Lima beans were introduced to South America. In South America, the cultivation of lima bean was started 6000 years BC. It is widely cultivated in Europe, Asia and Africa. It is consumed in Inca Empire with potatoes and quinoa.


The Lima Bean plant grows as a bush or vine, with four and half meters in height. It is the perennial plant which is also grown as an annual. The bean pod is typically 15 cm long. The shape of its leaves ranges from ovate to rhomboid or lanceolate having the length 2-5 inch (5-12.7 cm) which is rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. Each leaf possesses three leaflets. Stem is 4.5 to 8 m long. The flowers are white, pale green or rose-violet having the length less than 1 inch (2.5 cm). Pod shape is Oblong. Pod color may vary from shades of green to cream. Seeds have the shape of kidney having 1-3 cm (0.39-1.18 inch) as length. Seeds may appear white, yellow, green, brown, purple, red and black. It has got distinct, delightful flavor with bland delicate taste. The plant has thin or swollen roots. Lima bean thrives in well-drained soil. It can adjust to the climate of humid and sub-humid climates.

Edible parts of the plants

The dry mature seeds, young leaves, young pods and sprouts are consumed as vegetables. The shoots and young plants are eaten by cooking. The mature seeds are fermented as tempeh. The powder of dried seed is used as a thickener in soups or added to cereal flours to make bread.

Health Benefits

Lima Beans are a source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. The high presence of fiber eradicates the increase of blood sugar levels. So it helps the patients of diabetes, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. When the Lima Bean is combined with rice, it provides fat-free high quality protein.

  1. Assist bone health

Manganese if combined with zinc, copper and calcium assist to lower bone loss in older women as they are more prone to weak bones and bone fractures. The deficiency of magnesium is related to bone related disorders. Manganese assists to form bone regulatory enzymes and hormones which is involved in the bone metabolism. The study has shown that the intake of manganese with vitamin D, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium and boron helps to enhance the bone mass in the women which also treat osteoporosis.

  1. Maintains energy levels

Iron helps to transport the oxygen to the cells. It also assists with the processes of metabolic enzyme that is essential for the digestion of proteins and nutrient absorption from the food. Iron deficiency leads to feeling sluggish, exhaustion and trouble in being active. Mood changes, low concentration and muscle coordination trouble are the symptoms of iron deficiency. Iron assists to store the oxygen in the muscles which helps to strengthen and move the muscles.

  1. Reduce Arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties in copper help to eliminate pain and stiffness related to arthritis. It also strengthens muscles, repairs connective tissue and reduce joint pain. The copper bracelets were believed to decrease the painful symptoms associated to arthritis.

  1. Helps to absorb minerals

The body needs to receive and absorb the food nutrients in order to function properly. The absorption of nutrients and vitamins by the cells helps to lower the chances of disease and inflammation. The intake of Vitamin C with iron helps to enhance the absorption of iron.

  1. Enhance sleep

The evidence shows that tryptophan helps to enhance sleep and improve overall health. Lack of sleep leads to low memory and concentration, depression, weight gain, muscle aches etc. Tryptophan reduces the problems related to sleep apnea or insomnia. It improves mood, decrease teeth grinding and sleep apnea episodes during sleep.

  1. Detoxify body

Phosphorus is essential for the function of kidneys as it eliminates excess organic molecules from the blood. It also helps to flush out the waste and toxins in the form of urine. The digestive organs and kidneys depend on potassium, phosphorus and magnesium to balance the sodium, uric acid, fat and water.

  1. Lower blood pressure

L-histidine eases the blood vessels by relieving hypertension and preventing heart attacks and arteriosclerosis. The researcher shows that the daily intake of nutritional supplement which possess L-histidine lowers the chances of cardiovascular conditions by 60.9%. The research shows that L-histidine, if combined with zinc is effective to treat colds.

  1. Protects nerves

Vitamin B1 is required for the conversion of carbohydrates into energy for the nervous system and brain. Thiamine is needed for enzyme reactions known as pyruvate dehydrogenase, which helps to oxidize sugars. The fuel from food leads to nerve damage which leads to trouble in learning, moving and remembering. Vitamin B1 helps in development of myelin sheaths which protects nerves from damage as well as death.

  1. Reduce Anemia

Vitamin B6 is essential for the creation hemoglobin in the blood, which helps to transport oxygen to cells and mobilize iron. Anemia is the result of inadequate red blood cells and also experience symptoms such as aches, fatigue and pains. The study shows that the adequate intake of vitamin B6 reduces the symptoms of anemia and also prevents from occurring.

  1. Prevents migraines

The deficiency of magnesium is associated with migraine headaches due to the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the body. The studies have shown that the daily intake of 360–600 milligrams of magnesium reduces the migraine headaches frequency by 42 percent.

  1. Enhance mood

The protein from the foods is an aid for anxiety and also controls the mood. It assists in the function of neurotransmitters and arranges hormones such as serotonin and dopamine that helps to calm us. Those who lack the amino acids leads to experiencing moodiness, weakness, increase in anxiety and depression. Protein helps to balance the glucose levels in the blood, prevents irritability, mood changes and cravings.

  1. Eliminates muscle pain

Potassium soothes the muscles by balancing the fluid levels. The deficiency of potassium is prone to muscle cramps, spasms and pain. It breaks down the protein and carbs into energy which is essential for the repair of muscles. Low presence of potassium also leads to fatigue, weight gain, breakdown of muscle mass and trouble in exercising.

  1. Reduce cardiovascular disease

Vitamin B3 helps to reduce atherosclerosis that hardens the arteries and leads to heart disease. It reduces inflammation and enhances circulation by increasing the production of histamine. Vitamin B3 reduces the chances of reoccurrence of heart disease or cardiac arrest. Vitamin B3 is also used to treat pellagra which arises from the deficiency of Vitamin B3.

  1. Prevents cancer

The deficiency of folate leads to breast, cervical, brain, colon and lung cancer. The evidence shows that the consumption of folate rich foods protects and prevents from cancers. The study which was conducted on the people with the age 50-71 shows that the daily intake of 900 micrograms of folate reduces the chances of colorectal cancer by 30 percent.

  1. Enhance vision

The studies show that the deficiency of Vitamin B2 increases the chances of eye ailments. Vitamin B2 eradicates the eye problems such as keratoconus, glaucoma and cataracts. The research shows that the high intake of Vitamin B2 reduces the chances of eye disorders.

  1. Prevents diabetes

Zinc plays a vital role to balance hormones and regulate blood sugar. Zinc helps to store the insulin in pancreas and release only when the glucose enters to the blood stream. It also properly utilizes the digestive enzymes which is essential for the insulin to bind the cells. The glucose is not stored as a fat but utilized as a fuel for the body.

Traditional uses

In Senegal and the Democratic republic of Congo, the leaves juice is used as eardrops and to treat headache. In Nigeria, the seeds are rubbed into small cuts or tumours and to discharge the pus. In Traditional Asian medicine, the seeds and leaves are used as astringent properties to relieve fever. In Java, the plant is used to eradicate stomach ache and as a poultice meared over abdomen.


Raw Lima Beans are harmful for the health as it possesses linamarin which is a poisonous substance. In severe conditions, the consumption of toxic varieties may even cause death. But the varieties which have low linamarin can be used for cooking purposes. Due to the presence of amino acid known as L-tyrosine, some people might experience migraine, nervousness, stomach irritation and anxiety.

Nutritional Value

Lima Beans are nutrient-dense food which provides huge amount of nutrients. They are good source of manganese, iron, copper, isoleucine, vitamin C, tryptophan, valine and phosphorus. They also contain Vitamin B1, B6, B3, B9, B2, B5 and K. A cup of Lima Beans – about 156 grams of beans- has about 176 calories. The same amount provides 31.47 grams of carbohydrates, including 7.6 grams of dietary fiber.

Nutritional value of Lima Bean
Serving Size: 1 Cup, 156 g

Calories 176 Kcal. Calories from Fat 12.06 Kcal.

Proximity Amount % DV
Water 109.57 g N/D
Energy 176 Kcal N/D
Energy 738 kJ N/D
Protein 10.67 g 21.34%
Total Fat (lipid) 1.34 g 3.83%
Ash 2.95 g N/D
Carbohydrate 31.47 g 24.21%
Total dietary Fiber 7.6 g 20.00%
Total Sugars 2.31 g N/D

Minerals Amount % DV
Manganese, Mn 1.895 mg 82.39%
Iron, Fe 4.9 mg 61.25%
Copper, Cu 0.496 mg 55.11%
Phosphorus, P 212 mg 30.29%
Magnesium, Mg 90 mg 21.43%
Potassium, K 729 mg 15.51%
Zinc, Zn 1.22 mg 11.09%
Calcium, Ca 53 mg 5.30%
Selenium, Se 2.8 µg 5.09%
Sodium, Na 12 mg 0.80%

Vitamins Amount % DV
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 36.5 mg 40.56%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.339 mg 28.25%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.318 mg 24.46%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2.299 mg 14.37%
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid) 53 µg 13.25%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.161 mg 12.38%
Choline 62.4 mg 11.35%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.385 mg 7.70%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 8.7 µg 7.25%
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.5 mg 3.33%
Vitamin A 16 µg 2.29%
Beta Carotene 197 µg N/D

Lipids Amount % DV
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.309 g 0.48%
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.654 g 3.85%
Myristic acid  14:00(Tetradecanoic acid) 0.003 g N/D
Palmitic acid 16:00 (Hexadecanoic acid) 0.27 g N/D
Stearic acid 18:00 (Octadecanoic acid) 0.034 g N/D
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.078 g N/D
Oleic acid 18:1 (octadecenoic acid) 0.078 g N/D
Linoleic acid 18:2 (octadecadienoic acid) 0.441 g N/D
Linolenic acid 18:3 (Octadecatrienoic acid) 0.212 g N/D

Amino Acids Amount % DV
Isoleucine 0.686 g 41.03%
Tryptophan 0.14 g 31.82%
Valine 0.666 g 31.53%
Histidine 0.362 g 29.38%
Threonine 0.452 g 25.68%
Leucine 0.839 g 22.70%
Lysine 0.705 g 21.08%
Phenylalanine 0.526 g 18.11%
Methionine 0.106 g 6.34%
Cystine 0.129 g N/D
 Tyrosine 0.343 g N/D
Arginine 0.714 g N/D
Alanine 0.406 g N/D
Aspartic acid 1.147 g N/D
Glutamic acid 1.374 g N/D
Glycine 0.427 g N/D
Proline 0.159 g N/D
Serine 0.666 g N/D

*Above mentioned Percent Daily Values (%DVs) are based on 2,000 calorie diet intake. Daily values (DVs) may be different depending upon your daily calorie needs. Mentioned values are recommended by a U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are not recommendations. Calculations are based on average age of 19 to 50 years and weighs 194 lbs.


Lima Beans Facts

Lima beans are annual plant which is grown for crescent-oval-shaped seeds. Lima beans are of two types such as: bush and pole varieties. It possesses pale green pods which is 3-4 inches or 5-8 inches long. Bush varieties are harvested in 60 – 80 days of sowing and pole bean varieties are harvested in 85 – 90 days.

Name Lima Bean
Scientific Name Phaseolus lunatus
Native Central and South America and also cultivated in warm, semi-tropical regions for its beans.
Common/English Name Butter Bean, Burma Bean, Duffin Bean, Civet Bean, Haba, Guffin Bean, Hibbert Bean, Haricot Bean, Large Lima Bean, Java Bean, Lima Bean, Large White Bean, Pallar Bean, Madagascar Bean, Prolific Bean, Sieva Bean, Rangoon Bean, Sugar Bean
Name in Other Languages Argentina: Frijol De Lima, Poroto Manteca;
Bolivia: Palato;
Brazil: Feijăo-Fava, Fava-Belém;
Burmese: Htawbat Pe, Tunoran;
Chinese: Cai Dou, Yu Dou;
Columbia: Torta;
Czech: Fazol Měsíční, Fazol Barmský;
Danish: Limabřnne, Sukkerbřnne;
Dutch: Lima-Boon, Indische Maanboon;
Eastonian: Liima Aeduba;
Ecuador: Haba Pallar, Garrofó;
Fijian: Pini;
French: Fève Créole, Pois Souche;
Gambia: S s so;
German: Indische Mondbohne, Mondbohne;
Manding-Maninka: Tubabu S s so, S s so,
Susu: Togué;
Guinea-Bissau (Crioulo): Fidjom Faba;
Honduras: Alubia De Lima, Judía Limeńa;
India (Hindu): Sem;
Java: Kacang Kara, Kekara,
Sundanese: Roway, Kacang Mas;
Italian: Fagiolo Del Capo, Fagiolo Di Lima;
Japanese: Lai-Mame, Aoi Mame;
Korean: La I Ma K’ong;
Madagascar (Malagasy): Kabaro, Maimbolany;
Malaysia: Kacang China, Kekara Keratok;
Peru: Lima, Pallar;
Baguio: Buni,
Bikol: Patani,
Bisaya: Patani,
Bontok: Kilkilang, Kutakut,
Ibanag: Gulipatan,
Igorot: Puida,
Iloko: Palpadi, Patani,
Spanish: Haba, Zabache,
Tagalog: Bulai-Patani, Patani;
Portuguese: Feijão Carolino De Lima, Feijão Espadinho;
Russian: Fasol’ Lima, Limskii Fasol’;
Manding-Bambara: Kissi Soso,
Maninka: Tubabu Soso;
Spanish: Frijol Caballero, Poroto De Manteca;
Slovencina: Fazuľa Mesiacovitá;
Swahili: Mfi wi;
Swedish: Limaböna;
Thai: Thua Rachamat;
Tongan: Piini ‘Ae Puaka;
Vietnamese: Ðấu Ngư, Ðấu Ðiểm
Plant Growth Habit Annual or perennial herb
Growing Climate Humid and sub-humid
Soil Well-drained soil
Plant Size Four and half meters
Lifespan One year
Root Thin or swollen
Stem Length: 4.5-8 m
Leaf Three leaflets, ovate-rhomboid or lanceolate, rounded at the base and pointed at the tip, Length: 2-5 inch (5-12.7 cm)
Flowering Season Summer and Spring
Flower Hermaphrodite; white, pale green or rose-violet; Length: less than 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Pod  shape & size Oblong, Length: 15 cm
Pod  color Green or cream
Seed  shape & size Oval to kidney-shaped; Length: 1-3 cm (0.39-1.18 inch)
Seed  color White, green, yellow, brown, red, purple, black
Seed Flavor/aroma (cooked) Distinct and delightful
Seed Taste (cooked) Bland delicate
  • Bush Lima Beans
  • Pole Lima Beans
Fruit Season February – June
Major Nutritions Manganese, Mn 1.895 mg (82.39%)
Iron, Fe 4.9 mg (61.25%)
Copper, Cu 0.496 mg (55.11%)
Isoleucine 0.686 g (41.03%)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 36.5 mg (40.56%)
Tryptophan 0.14 g (31.82%)
Valine 0.666 g (31.53%)
Phosphorus, P 212 mg (30.29%)
Histidine 0.362 g (29.38%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.339 mg (28.25%)
Threonine 0.452 g (25.68%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.318 mg (24.46%)
Carbohydrate 31.47 g (24.21%)
Leucine 0.839 g (22.70%)
Magnesium, Mg 90 mg (21.43%)
Health Benefits
  • Assist bone health
  • Maintains energy levels
  • Reduce Arthritis
  • Helps to absorb minerals
  • Enhance sleep
  • Detoxify body
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Protects nerves
  • Reduce Anemia
  • Prevents migraines
  • Enhance mood
  • Eliminates muscle pain
  • Reduce cardiovascular disease
  • Prevents cancer
  • Enhance vision
  • Prevents diabetes
Calories in 1cup (156 gm) 176 Kcal.
How to Eat
  • Lima beans could be boiled, fried or baked.
  • The seeds are added to soups and stews and also cooked with rice, maize or yams.
  • The seeds could be processed into puddings, porridge and cakes.
  • The green, immature seeds, pods and leaves are prepared as vegetable.
  • It is preserved in the canned form or freeze.
  • The cooked Lima beans could be used in form of salads.
  • It is taken in form of soups as well.
  • It could be used as a sandwich filling.
Other Facts
  • Lima bean is loaded with huge amount of dietary fibers, vitamins, proteins and minerals such as molybdenum, manganese, magnesium and iron.
  • Lima beans should be cooked in order to reduce cyanide glycosides before consumption.
  • Lima bean is perennial plant which is often cultivated as an annual plant.
  • An average citizen in the USA consumes about 0.3 pounds of lima bean in a year.
  • Lima bean is also called butterbeans as its taste resembles butter.
  • Lima bean gets mature in 65- 95 days after sowing.

Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus)Scientific Classification

Scientific name Phaseolus lunatus
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheobionta
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae
Genus Phaseolus L.
Species Phaseolus lunatus L.
Super division Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Sub Class Rosidae