Fava beans are very high in protein, and energy as in other beans and lentils. 100 g beans carry 341 calories per 100 g. The beans, however, compose plentiful of health benefiting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant-sterols.
The beans are very rich source of dietary fiber (66% per100g RDA) which acts as a bulk laxative. Dietary fiber helps to protect the colon mucosa by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Dietary fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing re-absorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon.
Broad beans are rich in phyto-nutrients such as isoflavone and plant-sterols. Isoflavone such as genistein anddaidzein have been found to protect breast cancer in laboratory animals. Phytosterols, especially ß-sitosterol, help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Fava beans contain Levo-dopa or L-dopa, a precursor of neuro-chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. Dopamine in the brain is associated with smooth functioning of body movements. Thus, consumption of adequate amounts of fava beans in everyday diet may help prevent Parkinson's disease and dopamine responsive dystonia disorders. (Medical disclaimer).
Fresh fava beans are an excellent source of folates. 100 g beans provide 423 µg or 106% of folates. Folate along with vitamin B-12 is one of the essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception, and during pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the newborn baby.