The star quality of fava beans
is that they are exceptionally
high in fiber and can help
reduce “bad” cholesterol.
Fava beans are usually podded and eaten fresh or frozen, but they can also be dried and used in a similar way to beans. Small immature pods can be cooked and eaten whole. The podded beans are very high in a form of soluble fiber called arabinose, which can help improve the blood lipid profile. They also contain the flavonoid quercetin, which can help prevent heart disease, and the beans are a good source of cancer-blocking beta-carotene, niacin (vitamin B3), folate, vitamin C, and vegetable protein. They are higher in calcium than most vegetables and also contain good levels of magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
- Very high in fiber and soluble fiber to help lower “bad” blood cholesterol.
- Quercetin, magnesium, and vitamin C content protect the heart.
- Very good source of a range of important minerals.
- May help liver and gall bladder function.
Fresh pods should be bright green and firm. Limp pods or those with brown patches are past their best. The beans should be harvested when they are small so that you can eat the fiber-rich outer skin of each bean. Very young beans can be eaten raw. Older beans are best with this skin removed and cooked by steaming to retain most of the vitamin C and niacin content.
DID YOU KNOW?
Fava beans contain L-dopa, a chemical that helps produce dopamine in the body, which is the neurotransmitter associated with the “feel good” factor in the brain.