Health tips

Why eat fava beans?!

Quick Facts

  • Contain ZERO saturated fat or cholesterol
  • Rich in phytonutrients - plant-based nutrients that help prevent a range of diseases by promoting body function and nourishing cells
  • High in magnesium, copper, zinc, folate, iron, fiber and vitamin A, C and K 
  • Inexpensive source of lean protein
  • In season from March through May
  • Common food for many Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations

Benefits of fava beans

1.  Heart health:

High in Magnesium, this vitamin plays a vital role in heart health by helping lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

2.  Immune health:

Fava beans contain copper and zinc which help maintain healthy white blood cells, destroy disease-causing pathogens and fight free radicals.  They are also a good source of vitamin B1, phosphorus and potassium, all contributing to a better immune and nervous system.

3.  Healthy pregnancy:

Folate plays an integral role in fetal development because it decreases the risk of neural-tube defects.  Folate is also important for everyone because it helps DNA, cognitive functioning, producing new cells and supporting nerve and immune functions.

4.  Energy boost:

The Iron in fava beans provides a great source of energy.  Iron is required to produce blood, which carries oxygen throughout your body and to cells.  If oxygen isn’t properly transported the body will feel sluggish and tired.  To increase the amount of iron absorbed combine fava beans with meat or a rich source of vitamin C such as adding them to a salad with orange or grapefruit.

5.  Strong digestion:

Fiber helps create an environment for the proliferation of good bacteria in the gut.  The good bacteria is essential for mood, strong immunity, digestion and preventing disease.  

6.  Improved motor function and mood:

Fava beans are good sources of levodopa, the same chemical used in the drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease.  Levodopa is also used in the creation of dopamine, a chemical that boosts mood and decreases depression. 

7.  Vitamin rich:

Fava beans contain vitamin A, C and K. Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes and cancer. Vitamin K helps prevent excessive blood clotting. 

How to incorporate into your diet

*Preparation tip:  Can be eaten raw or cooked but the bean pods must first be blanched and the beans shelled before eating.  If you’re buying them fresh, opt for bright green beans. If you’re keeping the beans for later use, do not remove them from their pods. Although they do take some time to prepare, it’s well worth the effort!

Recipe:  Fava Bean and Asparagus with Toasted Almonds

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh shelled fava beans
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends removed
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted and chopped

1. Blanch fava beans in a pot of salted boiling water just until tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to an ice-water bath. Blanch asparagus in pot until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to ice-water bath. Drain and pat vegetables dry.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Swirl in oil, then add garlic and fava beans and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer beans to a plate with a slotted spoon. Let skillet cool slightly, then whisk lemon juice into oil in skillet; season with salt and pepper. (Add more oil if dressing is too tart.) Add asparagus; toss to coat with dressing. 

3. Combine almonds and lemon zest in a small bowl. Transfer asparagus to a platter, top with fava beans, and drizzle remaining dressing in skillet over top. Sprinkle with almond-zest mixture and serve.