Tasty, versatile and above all healthy. We talk about the beansthe seeds of the plant Vicia Faba belonging to the family of leguminous plants. Also called “meat of the poor”, they are distinguished by a few particular characteristics. The grey-green leaves have a slightly curved appendage. THE flowers they have white or purple hues and are highly visible. The seeds are contained in voluminous pods and their size varies according to the species to which they belong. Three stand out:
- big bean: the seeds, flattened and of considerable size, can be eaten by humans;
- Small bean or field bean: the seeds, small and round, are used to feed livestock or to sow weeds;
- Faba bean or broad bean: the seeds, flattened and of medium size, are intended for livestock feed.
The harvest takes place in the spring and during this season the beans can also be tasted believed. After this time, it is possible to consume them to dry after carefully rehydrating them. Let’s find out what are the properties and benefits of one of the most popular legumes in the world.
Beans, a bit of history
The consumption of beans has its roots in antiquity, just think that they were appreciated by various peoples (Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, Romans, Jews) despite the fatal aura that enveloped them. Pythagoras he believed that due to the black spot on the flowers, which recalled the letter “theta”, initial of “Thanatos or” death, they led the souls of the dead to the gates of the underworld. A legend handed down from Pausaniasinstead, he said that the goddess Demeter had forbidden the priests of Eleusis to eat them.
Although even to me Romans
beans retained a negative connotation (the Pontiff was even forbidden to speak of them), they used them for bread-making and ate them both fresh and dried. Many recipes have been passed on thanks to the gastronome Marco Gavio Apicius who put them together in the cookbook “De Re Coquinaria”. Their notoriety, widespread in the Middle Ages when they were called “meat of the poor“, began to fail with the discovery of America and beans.
The properties of beans
Broad beans are low calorie legumes (to be precise about 80 kilocalories per 100 grams) but very rich in nutritional principles. Specifically:
- Vitamin A: 333 IU per 100 grams. Essential element for cell growth and repair;
- Vitamin K: 40.9 μg per 100 grams. Fundamental element for blood coagulation;
- folate: 148 μg per 100 grams. These are the precursors of vitamin B9 or folic acid, involved in the development of the nervous system;
- Iron: 1.55 mg per 100 grams. Key mineral for the transport of oxygen to the tissues and for the production of red blood cells;
- Potassium: 332 mg per 100 grams. Mineral involved in the regulation of heart rhythm and the reduction of blood pressure;
- Phosphorus: 129 mg per 100 grams. Mineral involved in cell repair and the activation of various enzymes;
- Football: 37 mg per 100 grams. Essential mineral for bone calcification.
The benefits of broad beans
The health benefits that come from consuming fava beans are innumerable. The phenolic compounds that abound in their composition, in addition to having aanti-microbial activitythey also neutralize the harmful action of free radicals
on DNA. Several researches have also highlighted the ability of it to inhibit the digestion of carbohydrates and lipids, with a consequent benefit in the maintenance of weight. Certain active ingredients have therefore proven to be effective in suppressing the proliferation of several cancer cellsespecially those of the colon, bladder and liver.
The beneficial effects in terms of cardiovascular prevention from the obvious presence of minerals such as sodium and potassium. Finally, this legume contains L-Dopa, a substance that seems to increase dopamine levels in the brain and, therefore, would prove useful in countering and reversing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, there is no scientific evidence to confirm these effects.
Not everyone can benefit from the virtues of beans. In some individuals, their ingestion is even dangerous. In fact, these people suffer from favism which is a form of acute hemolytic anemia that occurs when there is a lack of an enzyme known as glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD). This hereditary pathology (the male sex is more affected) manifests itself with a clear symptomatology:
- General malaise;
- Abdominal pain;
- cloudy urine.