What are fava beans?

Fava beans are the seeds of Vicia faba, a species belonging to the family Fabaceae. These legumes probably originate from Asia Minor or the Mediterranean.


What are the nutritional properties of fava beans?

100 g of dried beans, shelled and cooked, provide 341 calories broken down as follows:

  • 60% carbohydrates
  • 32% protein
  • 8% lipids

In particular, in 100 g of shelled and cooked dried fava beans there are:

  • 11.3 g of water
  • 27.2 g of protein
  • 4.9 g of soluble sugars
  • 3 g of lipids
  • 7 g of fibers
  • 4 mg of vitamin C
  • 2.6 mg of niacin
  • 0.5 mg of thiamine
  • 0.28 mg of riboflavin
  • 14.4 micrograms of vitamin A (retinol equivalent)
  • 420 mg of phosphorus
  • 90 mg of calcium
  • 5 mg of iron


The beans are also sources of folate, vitamin B6, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.  Finally, fava beans contain isoflavones, plant sterols and L-DOPA.


When should you noteat fava beans?

Fava beans can interact with oxazolidinones, such as linezolid. If in doubt it is good to seek advice from your doctor.


Seasonality of fava beans

Fava beans are available in markets throughout the year in their dehydrated form.


Possible benefits and drawbacks of fava beans

Fava beans help promote good bowel function by providing a good amount of fiber, which can also help combat cardiovascular disease and diabetes by controlling the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and sugar, thus helping to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. The B vitamins promote the proper functioning of your metabolism, while vitamin A and vitamin C provide antioxidant protection. Vitamin C also helps to effectively respond to infections. Among its minerals, phosphorus and calcium are allies to bone health and teeth, while the iron is important for the production of red blood cells. Isoflavones may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, while phytosterols help to lower cholesterol levels. Finally, L-dopa can promote good brain health and help prevent disorders associated with its shortcomings, such as Parkinson's.

Fava beans should not be eaten if you suffer of favism and may be contraindicated in those who are predisposed to the disease.