Broad bean entrepeneurs

Green fava beans in shells.

Broad bean entrepeneurs must be experienced gardeners who can supply those suffering from Parkinson's disease with a regular supply of organic green legumes.

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By Bernard Preston

I guarantee you haven’t ever seen broad beans, also known as favas, in the greengrocer; not for many years anyway. The reasons are many, but it is a tragedy.

Folk don’t like them because by the time they get to the consumer they are usually old and starchy; during the whole year 2018 seed has not been available.

If you are banting, all legumes are strictly off limits.

Broad beans have one very important phytochemical that you cannot get from any other natural source; levodopa. This compound is utilised by a part of the brain called the Substantia Nigra to produce dopamine.

Researchers have found that many, but not all, sufferers from Parkinson’s disease benefit greatly from ingesting broad beans to boost their supply of dopamine; it does not have many of the side effects of the drug and the influence lasts longer.

There are many caveats though, and it is advisable that if you have Parkinson’s disease that you only start eating broad beans after discussion with your doctor; it is generally recommended that you begin with two tablespoons every day, working up to half a cup.

As with those suffering from diabetes who start banting immediately having to halve their insulin, so those suffering from PD must reduce their medication or they may have increased dyskinesias and nausea.

Young broad beans, and their pods, are the richest source of levodopa; half a cup of fresh broad beans may contain as much as 100mg of L-dopa. That’s how much we enjoy between us every day; they are simply delicious straight from the garden. They are also a rich in vegetable protein and an excellent source of minerals such as iron and zinc, and vitamins.

All very well you say, but what is the point if you can’t purchase any fresh, young broad beans? The whole world urgently needs entrepreneurs who will start growing them, planting a row each week for much of the year; they don’t like hot weather, so you would have to freeze some for midsummer.

Of course, he or she would have to build his business, find his clients, and arrange to supply them with fresh young broad beans each week; perhaps even daily. Parkinson’s medication is extremely expensive; it could be a very profitable venture.  

I made a small estimate; five pods produced 25 young seeds, weighing about 20g, roughly two tablespoons or a 1/4 cup. So, to begin testing yourself, you’d need 30-40 young pods every week. I wouldn’t give you the time of day for old broad beans.

In fact, the pods of young broad beans have even more dopamine; they you wouldn't have to shell them.

Planted directly in the ground we had difficulty persuading them to germinate, but kept moist in a warm dark place between sheets of newspaper, they sprouted very quickly.

Alternately, if you are suffering from PD you could grow them yourself, if you can find the seed; we luckily had kept back some of the pods for seed last year.

Just a thought for someone who is out of work and loves to till the earth and enjoy its benefits.

Broad bean entrepeneurs

Broad bean entrepeneurs are needed to grow the legumes for Parkinson's patients; and of course for those who are looking to eat less red meat and need legumes for protein.

Organic red meat is difficult to get and expensive; and frankly you're never really sure that it is what is claimed, unless you know the farmer personally. I know that for a fact.

Of course, it's exactly the same for honey and most foods.

A caution

An oversupply of dopamine to the brain has bizarre side effects on Parkinson's patients; they may develop impulsive behavioural traits such as gambling and shopping sprees.

Whilst adding broad beans to the diet can be marvellous of those suffering from the disease, medication has to be gradually reduced and even eliminated. This needs to be done in collaboration with the family and their doctor. Read more at Parkinson's pill shock.

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