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Key Allergens

Butter beans (also known as lima beans) are in the Fabaceae family of plants, these are also known as legumes. Other plants in this family include kidney beans, peanuts, peas, lentils, lupin, green beans and soya beans. If you want to find out more about legumes you can visit the Legume page.

Butter beans are the species Phaseolus lunatus, this species also covers cannellini beans, black turtle beans, borlotti beans, flageolot beans, green beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and white beans.

To date there are no recorded allergens for butter beans by the World Health Organization (WHO), because there have not been enough study into allergic effects from this food. If you are interested in what is needed by the WHO before they add an allergen to their allergen database you can check that out HERE.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in salicylates Food is high in histamine Food is high in FODMAP Food is high in lectins

Butter beans are high in histamine when they are eaten from cans, this is because of the ways they are preserved. Canned butter beans are not suitable for people who are following a low histamine diet.

Butter beans are a high FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.

Most canned beans are low in salicylates, these have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

Butter beans are high in lectins, another cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance.

You can read more about Food Intolerances on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.

Associated Syndromes

Butter beans are not currently associated with any allergic syndromes.

Cross Reactivity

Butter beans are from the Phaseolus genus of beans, other beans in this genus (so very closely related) include runner beans, green beans, cannellini beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and white beans. So you may want to avoid these if you find you are allergic to butter beans.



Allergen Encylcopedia - Lima Beans

Science Direct - Phaseolus lunatus

Histamine Food List

Healthline - FODMAP Foods

ATP Science - Salicylate Foods

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Legumes

Nottingham Eczema - Legume Allergy

Foods Matter - Legume Allergies

Articles and Journals

Bioactive and health-promoting properties of enzymatic hydrolysates of legume proteins: a review, 2024

Relationship between Protein Digestibility and the Proteolysis of Legume Proteins during Seed Germination, 2023

Relevance of sensitization to legumes in peanut-allergic children, 2022

Identification of a vicilin-like major allergen from Prosopis juliflora exhibiting cross- reactivity with legume food allergens, 2021

Contact urticaria caused by occupational exposure to green beans, 2020

Effect of Preparation and Freezing Methods on the Concentration of Resistant Starch, Antinutritional Factors and FODMAPs in Beans, 2019

Identification of IgE-Mediated Food Allergy and Allergens in Older Children and Adults with Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis, 2010

A clinically relevant major cross-reactive allergen from mesquite tree pollen, 2008

Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated cross-reactivity between mesquite pollen proteins and lima bean, an edible legume, 2007

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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