Butter bean is another name for the lima bean. Butter beans have a delicate, buttery texture, and are filled with nutrition.
Butter beans are kidney-shaped and are usually cream or green in color, although there are varieties which are red, purple, brown, black or white. Fresh lima beans may be hard to find, but canned and dried butter beans are available year-round.
Butter beans make a hearty addition to soups, and are often combined with corn to make succotash. When eaten with a whole grain such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta, butter beans offer as much protein as meat and dairy foods, with far fewer calories.
Like other beans, the butter bean is high in dietary fiber. Fiber is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels, and also in regulating blood sugar levels. The beans also contain insoluble fiber, which is helpful in preventing digestive disorders.
Butter beans have high levels of a trace mineral called molybdenum, which is necessary to detoxify sulfates, a commonly used food preservative. People who have sulfite sensitivities (which can cause headache and rapid heartbeat) may benefit from adding butter beans to their diet, says WorldsHealthiestFoods.org, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to healthy eating.
Butter beans are a good source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an antioxidant. They also contain a quarter of the daily recommended amount of iron.
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.