Broad Beans are also known as fava beans, sometimes field beans, bell beans, or tic beans, and are native to north Africa and southwest Asia, but are cultivated in other locales. In English-speaking countries and the US, the bean is referred to as “Fava”, which is Italian for “broad bean”; however, in the United Kingdom it is commonly called “broad beans”. Whichever way you call it, it refers to the same oval-shaped, light brown bean with an earthy flavor and creamy texture. Fresh broad beans are sweet and delicious, and are an excellent source of folate and fiber.
Broad beans / Fava Beans are rich in L-dopa, a substance medically used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and could help in controlling hypertension. Because broad beans are rich in tyramine, they should be avoided by those taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Various cultures have included the broad bean in their philosophy of life. In other parts of the world some people carry a broad bean for good luck believing by carrying it with you, you will never be without the essentials of life. In Russia, a particular Ubykh culture uses beans as a common method of divination by throwing them on the ground and interpreting the pattern. In fact, the word for “bean-thrower” in that language has become a generic term for seers and soothsayers in general.
It was Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist, who claimed that broad beans acted as a laxative long before doctors and nutritionists claimed the high fiber content within beans. Today, Fava Beans can be purchased fresh or dried. As with any type of dried bean, soaking is required to re-hydrate the beans before they are cooked.
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