Fava beans hold great promise as a non-soy source of plant protein
New research from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science demonstrates that fava beans hold great promise as a non-soy source of plant protein. Moreover, favas are a better alternative for the environment.
To find an alternative to environmentally taxing soybean, the study’s researchers tested various crops, looking for those with the greatest potential as a protein powder, while also being able to be grown locally. Here, fava beans outperformed lentils, amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa.
Using an incredibly unique method known as ’wet fractionation’, the researchers succeeded in concentrating fava bean protein and removing substances that would otherwise inhibit the digestion of the protein. This allows nutritious fava bean proteins to be more readily absorbed when consumed.
“Many consumers are crying out for alternatives to soy, a crop that places great strain on the environment. This prompted us to find a method of processing fava beans in such a way that allows us to produce a concentrated protein powder. One of the advantages of fava beans is that they can be grown here, locally in Denmark. This is excellent news for the climate,” explains Iben Lykke Petersen, an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science, and one of the researchers behind the new study published in the journal Foods.