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Fava beans for health


It is spring and it is bean time. These small bushes with leaves and delicate bicolor flowers give their fruit at this time, large and resistant pods that house the well-known and tasty broad beans.

Although they are often eaten as vegetables, beans are actually legumes. The pulses are nutritionally known for their protein content, fiber and complex carbohydrates. Within this family, beans do not stand out especially for having more or less nutrients than other legumes. They contain water, carbohydrates , which, as we have mentioned, are complex and therefore will be absorbed slowly, proteins, potassium, provitamin A, etc.

Nutritional composition: fiber, potassium and folic acid

As we can see, beans are a food with high water content , despite what it may seem a priori, and they are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber , so when they are consumed they will not cause a substantial increase in glucose. in blood, but it will slowly increase, and this is positive in people with alterations in glycemic control, such as diabetes.

If something stands out in beans, it is the fiber and folic acid content . The amount of fiber will be even higher if what we consume is the whole pod. Yes, I said the pod, although it is not usual, the bean pod is edible and very rich when it is very tender. As with peas, of which we consume snow peas, the same thing happens with broad beans, we can consume pods and beans all together when it comes to young and tender specimens, in this way we will be increasing our consumption of fiber, vitamins and minerals . In addition, the fact of consuming them so tender makes them more easily digestible.


The fiber dietary part of what is considered a healthy diet and is suitable to provide between 20-35 g of fiber day. Fibers help regulate intestinal transit , but they also reach the large intestine and are fermented by the microflora of the colon, giving rise to fermentation products that are involved in beneficial functions for the human body.

Folic acid

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 , is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the maturation of structural and blood proteins such as hemoglobin, which is why it also influences the formation of red blood cells . Its lack is not common, but it is important to ensure a sufficient supply in women prior to pregnancy to avoid possible malformations in the growth of the fetus.


Potassium is an electrolyte that is involved in muscle contraction and nerve transmission. It counteracts some effects of sodium in the regulation of blood pressure and is essential for the regulation of cardiac contraction .

Who is advised to eat beans?

  • People with constipation : the fiber in beans contributes to the regulation of intestinal transit and therefore its consumption in people with constipation can be very appropriate.
  • Pregnancy : pregnant women, during the first trimester of pregnancy and prior to conception, it is recommended that they consume greater amounts of folic acid to meet the increased requirements. Although the advice in this case is to resort to supplementation, the consumption of vegetables rich in folic acid such as beans helps to increase the intake of this mineral.
  • Weight loss diets : Fava beans are very consistent and high fiber foods that provide plenty of satiety. This can be very interesting for people who are used to consuming large amounts of food and who are in the process of food re-education to consume smaller amounts and fewer calories.
  • Diabetes : Its content in complex carbohydrates and the abundant amount of fiber they contain contributes to a slow increase in blood glucose, and this is positive for people with diabetes.

Now, if you find yourself within any of these groups, the general recommendation is that you do not consume this type of food:

  • Fabism : it is not recommended that people who suffer from this enzyme deficiency (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase above) consume beans to avoid the appearance of symptoms related to this alteration. It is a hereditary health problem linked to the X chromosome that may not give symptoms, or cause small alterations such as anemia, dizziness, etc. It does not mean that we are going to get sick from eating beans, but that people with this deficiency may present symptoms after eating beans. Therefore it is recommended to consult a specialist first.
  • Potassium restriction : if we must eat a diet low in potassium , something that happens in certain kidney problems, we must take into account the amount of potassium in beans to control the amount and not exceed its intake.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders : In certain gastrointestinal disorders that occur with diarrhea and gas production in the intestine, we must limit fiber intake to control the appearance of these symptoms. In these cases legumes such as beans are not the best option, we must wait for the symptoms to subside to start incorporating them and in this case it is better to start with very tender or even crushed specimens.

What you should know…

  • Season: its collection takes place in spring. With the first specimens we can take the whole pods, but later only the beans as the pod dries up.
  • Benefits: they are very rich in fiber, and contain folic acid, complex carbohydrates, proteins, provitamin A, among others.
  • Ideal for: people who want to follow a healthy and varied diet and do not have a great predisposition to suffer from gas.


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