Improve your health by increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods, and lima beans and soybeans are both good choices. They have many nutritional similarities, and the choice for which is healthiest for you may vary depending on your individual needs. The healthiest diet includes a moderate amount of lima beans and soybeans as part of an overall balanced meal plan.
Soybeans may be healthier than lima beans because the protein from soybeans is complete, which means that it provides each of the essential amino acids that you need to get from the diet, according to the University of Michigan. Lima beans provide incomplete protein, but you can meet your needs by eating lima beans with protein from grains, such as bread. Cooked soybeans provide 29 g protein per cup, while lima beans have 12 g.
Lima beans may be healthier for you if you need to lose weight because each 170 g cup only has 209 calories, while a 172 g cup of cooked soybeans has 298 calories. Filling up on lower-calorie foods can help you lose weight or prevent weight gain if you eat fewer calories throughout the day. Low-fat foods can be more filling than high-fat choices, and soybeans have 15 g fat per cup, while lima beans are nearly fat-free.
Each 1-cup serving of cooked lima beans and soybeans has 9 to 10 g dietary fiber, which lowers levels of bad LDL cholesterol in your blood. Both choices promote a healthy blood pressure because they are naturally high in potassium, with about 900 mg, or percent of the daily value. Lima beans have are low-sodium, with 29 mg sodium per cup, or about 1 percent of the daily value, and soybeans have are nearly sodium-free, with 2 mg.
Each cup of soybeans provides 175 mg calcium, or 18 percent of the daily value, so they are healthier for your bones than lima beans, which have only 54 mg calcium. Soybeans are higher in iron, which is essential for healthy red blood cells, since soybeans have 9 mg iron per cup, compared to lima beans with 4 mg. The daily value is 18 mg. Lima beans are healthier if you are trying to increase your vitamin C because each cup has 17 mg vitamin C, or more than 1/4 of the daily value, and soybeans have only 3 mg. They have similar amounts of zinc.
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.