Broad Bean

Broad bean (Vicia faba L.), also known as fava bean, is grown from tropical to temperate regions, with production occurring in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and China. This legume is grown for its enlarged, succulent, immature seeds that are removed from its thick, fleshy pod. Mature dry seed is also harvested. Although broad beans are widely consumed, they do contain storage proteins (vicine and convicine) whose metabolites can lead to acute hemolytic anemia in individuals with a deficiency in glucose-6-dehydrogenase (found predominantly in people of Mediterranean or African descent). Additionally, broad beans contain high levels of L-DOPA, a phenolic compound that can be converted to dopamine. Because of their L-DOPA content, broad beans should be avoided by individuals using monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI-type drugs). The use of these drugs, in combination with high intakes of dopamine (or dopa-mine precursors), can lead to dangerous increases in blood pressure.

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