Lima beans are extremely high in protein and dietary fiber. These nutrients, when combined with other natural ingredients, can help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs. It also helps to combat obesity in both dogs and cats.
Lima beans are also very low in saturated fats, making them a great addition to your pets’ diet plan if they have been diagnosed with heart disease or hypertension. However, there are some cons associated with feeding lima beans to your pet that you should be aware of before adding them into their food dish.
Lima beans contain two substances called lectins and phytates which may lead to an upset stomach if fed in excess. Lectins attack the gastrointestinal lining of both humans and animals by disrupting their ability to function normally. This condition is referred to as leaky gut syndrome. Phytates are not digestible by dogs and cats so they are unable to access the nutrients that they offer.
When feeding lima beans there are some things that you need to keep in mind. First, if your pet has problems with gas it means they have digestive problems of their own, which could mean more serious issues than just an upset stomach caused by lima beans alone. Second, do not feed them plain raw or cooked lima beans without first boiling or oven roasting them. Lima beans contain lectins and phytates which can be hazardous to your pets’ health when consumed raw or even undercooked.
Cooked beans should make up ten percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.
1) Lectins and Phytates – The lectin phytic acid content in beans has been thought to be a factor in appendicitis, resulting from their ability to bind with certain cells lining the intestines making them more susceptible to attack by digestive enzymes. In other words, they can damage your pet’s intestinal wall leading to leaky gut syndrome.
The enzyme trypsin that is needed for protein digestion may not work if phytates are present, which could lead to malnutrition from undigested food entering the bloodstream. Lima beans have been found to have high levels of these anti-nutrients in both raw and especially undercooked forms which can wreak havoc on your pets’ intestines even in small quantities.
2) Gas – The high fiber content of lima beans can cause gas for your pet which is highly uncomfortable and may lead to flatulence, bloating, pain or vomiting. This gas can lead to further damage to your pets’ intestines as the excessive fermentation of undigested food leads to more digestive enzyme problems with trypsin resulting in malnutrition, again this is especially true if they are raw or undercooked.
3) Weight Gain – Even though these beans offer many health benefits there is one thing that they do not offer; weight loss! Lima beans are packed full of natural sugars which will spike their blood sugar levels leading to insulin spikes and weight gain over time. These effects are even worse if the beans were cooked in a sugar sauce.
4) Hypoglycemia – Lima beans are extremely high in sugars which means they will also lead to hypoglycemia as soon as those sugars enter your pets’ bloodstream. In the short term, this can result in fatigue, confusion, and even seizures if left untreated. In the long run, it could lead to diabetes mellitus which is another serious health condition.
5) Gout – All that extra weight that your pet gained from eating too many lima beans could cause a build-up of uric acid crystals resulting in gout or arthritis pain due to excessive weight on their joints. This inflammation can occur anywhere but is especially common around the back legs and neck areas where excess weight would be most concentrated. Gout is extremely painful and may require surgery to remove the uric acid crystals, but this doesn’t mean your pet will be pain-free. Gout tends to come back if more uric acid starts to form in their bloodstream.
Given all of these risks associated with giving lima beans to your pet you might ask yourself; could my dog or cat benefit from them at all? The answer would have to be yes, but only if you know how much they should eat and what potential hazards there are.
Lima beans can provide a source of dietary fiber for pets who need help preventing constipation and other intestinal-related health problems caused by irritable bowel syndrome or irritable bowel disease. They can also serve as a natural calcium supplement for pets with osteoporosis or other forms of dietary-related bone issues.
The most important thing for pet owners to understand is that lima beans do not belong in your pets’ diet unless they are fully cooked and served at room temperature, plain with nothing added. Raw or even undercooked lima beans could be very hazardous to your pet’s health so please take the time to cook them yourself before giving them to your pet.
Keep in mind that 10 percent of their daily caloric intake should consist of cooked lima beans if you choose to feed them at all.
Lima beans can provide many benefits for dogs and cats but only if they are prepared correctly! Remember, never give these delicious legumes raw or undercooked unless you want to risk creating a serious health problem for your pet.