Broad beans: properties and contraindications

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In the same way as chickpeas, beans or lentils, broad beans are a type of legume, a source of nutrients with which to enrich a varied and balanced diet. In addition, they can be prepared in a thousand ways and not only in spoon dishes, but also in sautés or even in salads, perfect for the hottest days. You should also know that broad beans are a very complete food, known and consumed since ancient times, capable of providing important benefits to the body as a whole.

Broad beans properties and contraindications

Nutritional value of broad beans

Are you wondering what beans are? Well, broad beans are these seeds that, being on the plant, are wrapped in a pod that is also edible, similar to that of green beans. A small gift from nature for its nutritional composition.

As the Spanish Food Composition Base (BEDCA) [1] points out, the characteristics and properties of broad beans indicate that they are a food that provides a good dose of the energy we need on a daily basis, since 100 grams represent an approximate intake of 57 kcal, therefore, the calories of the beans are standard. This energy does not derive from fat, because the presence of this macronutrient is minimal (0.4 grams/100 grams), but from the necessary carbohydrates, about 8 grams per 100. On the other hand, beans are more than 80% water in addition, its contribution in dietary fiber is 4.2gr/100gr. To the benefits of the presence of this amount of fiber, you must add that of protein, which is close to 5 grams.

If the macronutrients of broad beans are important, its content in essential micronutrients for the body should also be highlighted:

  • Source of vitamin C, provitamin A and also provide the always “elusive” vitamins of group B, especially: riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), thiamin (B1) and vitamin B6.
  • The presence of minerals is also more than remarkable in broad beans: potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium or selenium are just some of those it contains and that make broad beans an extraordinary source of health.

Properties of broad beans and their benefits

The rich composition of green beans provides good properties when it comes to keeping the body in good condition, also helping to prevent or improve various diseases or pathologies. Among the most important benefits of broad beans, we must highlight:

  • They help maintain strong, healthy bones and muscles. Eating broad beans at night or at noon is advisable for almost anyone and, especially, for those who practice intense physical activity because their vegetable protein, of high biological value, helps to take care of the muscles and is a guarantee of healthy bones, something important also when it comes to preventing bone demineralization and diseases, such as osteoporosis.
  • They help control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The fiber contained in broad beans is what gives it this beneficial property, since its presence favors a lower absorption of fats and also helps maintain adequate blood glucose levels. In addition, the glycemic index of beans is medium-low.
  • They are allies of cardiovascular health. As with other legumes, broad beans are an excellent source of potassium, an important mineral when it comes to maintaining correct blood pressure. In addition, the thiamine they contain gives it beneficial properties that favor the normal functioning of the heart, as pointed out by the Spanish Heart Foundation [2].
  • They are effective in preventing anemia, given their high iron content.
  • Are you wondering if broad beans make you fat or lose weight? Well, you should know that broad beans are a food to take into account if you want to lose weight by following a healthy diet, because they are low in fat, rich in nutrients and, in addition, in fiber with a satiating effect.
  • They improve problems of constipation episodes, since its fiber favors the correct intestinal transit.
  • Their vitamin C makes them possess antioxidant properties that take care of the whole organism at the cellular level.

Fava bean contraindications

Broad beans are a healthy food loaded with good properties, although their intake may also be discouraged (or very limited) in very specific cases.

  • People suffering from favism, a genetic disease that involves deficiency of the enzyme glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), should avoid certain foods, especially broad beans, since their intake could aggravate the characteristic symptoms of this pathology, among them, the decrease in red blood cells and, consequently, anemia.
  • Broad beans, like other legumes, can be somewhat indigestible, especially for people with gastrointestinal problems. Eating raw beans or boiled beans in large quantities could cause more or less severe discomfort, from gas and flatulence, to diarrhea or abdominal pain.

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