Fava Beans: This Bean Is Nutrient Rich But Comes With a Health Warning for People With G6PD Deficiency by Joy Stephenson-Laws JD
You don’t have to be a movie buff to know where this famous line came from: "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
Prior to Silence of the Lambs, many people may not have heard of fava beans. They are also known as broad beans. Fava beans are sought after because they are nutrient dense. These nutrients include zinc, copper, potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, fiber, vitamin K and vitamin B6.
Dry fava bean seeds are used in many dishes, and the green immature seeds are eaten as a vegetable. Here in the U.S., you can find fava bean flour as a gluten-free product in many stores. And many recipes, especially vegetarian and vegan, include fava beans.
But fava beans may also trigger the destruction of red blood cells or cause hemolytic anemia in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a very common genetic disorder. People with G6PD deficiency do not have any symptoms or need treatment.
However, they should be taught to avoid triggers such as fava beans because, over time, these triggering episodes may lead to chronic anemia and heart, liver and kidney damage. Certain medications like aspirin should also be avoided by those with G6PD.
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