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Are Butter Beans Legumes? [Nutritional FACTS]

Are Butter Beans Legumes

A legume is a precise term to classify vegetables and is one that isn’t used too much in everyday conversation.

So, most people, myself included, don’t know whether certain beans or vegetables are legumes.

I looked into how butter beans are classified and here’s what I found.

Butter beans are indeed a legume.

Legumes are the fresh seeds of plants that are grown for the express purpose of eating the seeds.

Pulses are also a common word to refer to legumes and are defined as dried legumes.

Therefore, butter beans can be a legume or a pulse.

Canned beans are a really convenient way to consume butter beans because you don’t need to boil them which tends to take a long time.

Beans are also known to be quite healthy for you.

Below, I will explain whether tinned butter beans are good for you, what the benefits of eating butter beans are, whether butter beans and lima beans are the same things, as well as the nutritional information about butter beans and how it compares to other popular legumes such as peas, and kidney beans.

Are Lima Beans and Butter Beans the Same Thing?

Are Lima Beans and Butter Beans the Same Thing

Lima beans look very similar to butter beans, so I was curious about whether they are the same thing.

Here’s the answer….

Lima beans and butter beans are two names for the same thing.

Lima bean is the name for this legume and has the scientific name Phaseolus lunatus.

But, they are commonly sold using their other name, butter beans.

Lima beans can also be called double beans, Madagascar beans, chad beans, or wax beans.

However, this is quite localized.

For example, in certain countries, cities, or states they are called wax beans, whereas, in a different city they are called double beans.

As you may know, butter beans appear larger than other beans because they are quite flat and wide.

They also have a waxy finish, that is white/light yellow in color which resembles fresh butter.

They also have a somewhat buttery taste.

I’m not sure if this is a placebo effect because of their name, or if they actually taste like butter.

Because of their color lima beans look appetizing to eat when compared with deep maroon-red kidney beans, and the small matte finish black beans.

Difference between legumes and vegetables

A legume can be thought of as a type of vegetable, however, technically legumes and vegetables are both plants.

In everyday speech when people say vegetable they mean the leaves, roots, and stems of vegetables.

For example, carrots are the root of a carrot plant.

Legumes are the seeds of a plant, which differentiates them from vegetables.

Most plants are edible, however, the stems and leaves can often have a bitter taste.

So, technically you could eat the leaves of a legume plant.  But, legumes are generally primarily grown for their seeds.

Fruits and vegetables are often mistaken for one another using the strict definition of the word.

And usually happens because some fruits have a savory taste.

Common fruits that are often called vegetables are pumpkin, cucumber, tomatoes, and eggplants.

Fruit is a part of the plant that houses the seeds of the plant.  Vegetables and fruits are both plants that can have a similar appearance.

But, vegetables will tend to flower and spread their seeds using the air, birds, and insects rather than housing them inside a fruit.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Butter Beans?

What Are the Benefits of Eating Butter Beans

Butter beans are nice to eat and easy to prepare, but I wanted to know about the nutritional benefits of eating butter beans, and how they compare to other beans.

Here’s what I found…

Butter beans provide nutrients that your body needs to maintain optimal health.

They are a good source of:

  • Fiber – 28% RDI
  • Protein – 16% RDI
  • Iron – 13% RDI
  • Magnesium – 10% RDI
  • Vitamin B-6 – 10% RDI

*RDI = recommended daily intake. Numbers are for half a cup (100g) of boiled butter beans (lima beans).

Protein is needed for muscle growth, and fiber is good for your digestive system.

Many people supplement their diet with multi-vitamins that ensure you get enough of each of the different nutrients you need.

Are Tinned Butter Beans Good for You?

Are Tinned Butter Beans Good for You

Tinned beans are a convenient way to eat butter beans because they will last almost forever, and they are precooked so you only need to heat them rather than soaking and boiling them.

But, are tinned butter beans as good for you?

Overall, tinned butter beans are good for you.

Certain nutrients in tinned butter beans are lower than in freshly cooked butter beans.

But, other nutrients can be present at the same levels as those found in freshly cooked butter beans, and suffer no degradation.

Vitamin C and vitamin B are water-soluble and will degrade when submerged in the brine that tinned butter beans are stored with.

Cooking beans can remove some of the nutrients.

And therefore, fresh raw beans that can be eaten raw – very important some beans are toxic to eat raw – are typically more healthy than cooked beans.

But, virtually all beans need to be cooked before being eaten as they contain toxins.

Beans also need to be soaked for a long period of time, over 5 hours before being cooked.

I wrote an article that goes into detail about what beans can be eaten raw, and what beans, and how beans should be prepared to avoid the negative effects from the toxins found in beans and other legumes.

Read it [here, link: are legumes toxic].

What Can I Use Instead of Butter Beans?

What Can I Use Instead of Butter Beans

Butter beans aren’t always available, or you might be making a recipe that calls for butter beans and have some other types of beans on hand.

So, what beans can you use instead of butter beans?

Cannellini beans or borlotti beans can be used instead of butter beans.

They will provide the most similar flavor but virtually all other legumes will tend to go well with the other ingredients in a recipe that calls for butter beans.

Cannellini beans are white in color and are the white variety of kidney beans.

Butter beans, cannellini beans, and borlotti beans each have a different appearance.

Butter beans are white to light yellow in color and are flat and thin.

Whereas, cannellini beans are more bean-shaped but also have white skin.

Cannellini beans are the type of beans that are used in baked beans. Borlotti beans tend to be harder to find than cannellini beans.

They also have the nickname cranberry beans because they have splotches of cranberry color on their otherwise white skin.

Butter Beans Nutrition Facts Cooked

Butter Beans Nutrition Facts Cooked

Each type of food can be high in some nutrients, and lower in others.

So, I looked at the nutritional facts about butter beans.

Since butter beans need to be cooked before they’re consumed, here are the nutritional facts about cooked butter beans:

Cooked butter beans have the following nutrients as percentage of the recommended daily intake per 3.4 oz (100g or half a cup):

Cooked butter beans also have a low glycemic index and therefore are good for people who have type 2 diabetes.

Legumes are a good source of protein

Beans together with other legumes are generally high in protein. And are a good option if you don’t eat meat or fish.

Men tend to require more protein and calories than women because they have more muscle mass which burns more energy.

And many people who go to the gym find that they need to increase their protein intake to reach their muscle development goals.

This is normally done by keeping a strict diet or supplementing their diet with protein shakes.

However, the legumes with the highest source of protein are soybeans (also called soya beans).

Interestingly, soy beans have the highest source of protein out of any food, including meats such as chicken breast.

I summarized the data and showed the foods with the highest amount of protein in this: what fruit is high in protein article.

It covers what fruits have the most calories, protein, and other nutrients, and also ends with a discussion on the foods with the highest protein.

Do butter beans make you fart?

Butter beans in general will give you significant amounts of gas.

This is also true of other beans.

If you eat a small amount in the range of half a cup or less, you generally won’t get noticeably more gas.

But, any more than that and you can get gas that lasts for 12 to 24 hours.

And if you eat a large amount in the range of 2 to 3 cups of beans you can have excessive gas for up to 48 hours.

Although it can be quite funny, it can be inconvenient in an office setting, or where you can’t easily step outside, such as if you’re watching a movie at a movie theater.

Therefore, you should aim to time when you eat beans so that the excess gas can be released.