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Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils: Which Is Healthier?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between broad (fava) beans and lentils, foods from the legumes and legume product group. Read on to learn more about the broad (fava) beans vs lentils comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on January 15, 2023.

Broad (Fava) Beans and lentils belong to the legumes and legume products food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Legumes and most legume products are an affordable source of plant protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

This article will thoroughly compare broad (fava) beans and lentils and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Broad (Fava) Beans

Broad beans, also known as fava beans or faba beans (Vicia faba), are a type of legume native to North Africa and the Middle East.

They are a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to their high protein and fiber content, as well as their mild, slightly sweet flavor.

Broad beans are also a good source of several important nutrients, including potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

They can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, such as broad bean soup, dips such as Bigilla, and salads.

In addition to being a nutritious food, broad beans have been shown to have a number of potential health benefits.

They have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control, and may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Broad (Fava) Beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin K.


Lentils (Lens culinaris) are a type of legume that are native to the Middle East and have been consumed for thousands of years.

They are small, round, and come in various colors, including green, brown, red, and yellow. Lentils are a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide and are highly valued for their nutritional content.

One of the main health benefits of lentils is their high protein content. In fact, lentils are one of the highest plant-based protein sources, making them a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Lentils are also high in fiber, which can help to improve digestion and lower cholesterol levels.

They are rich in nutrients such as iron, potassium, and B vitamins. They also contain many plant compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Regarding versatility, lentils can be easily incorporated into various dishes, such as soups, stews, and salads.

They are also budget-friendly ingredients that can be used in place of meat to add protein and nutrients to meals.

Lentils are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing broad (fava) beans vs lentils.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of broad (fava) beans and lentils and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Broad (Fava) BeansLentils
Energy341 kcal352 kcal
Carbs58.3 g63.4 g
Sugar5.7 g2.03 g
Fiber25 g10.7 g
Protein26.1 g24.6 g
Fat1.53 g1.06 g
Saturated Fat0.254 g0.154 g

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Calories

Most calories in raw legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing broad (fava) beans vs lentils for weight loss, broad (fava) beans are slightly lower in calories, with 341 calories per 100 grams, compared to 352 calories per 100 grams of lentils.

However, both broad (fava) beans and lentils can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including broad (fava) beans and lentils, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Broad (Fava) Beans offer around 6% more protein than lentils.

Broad (Fava) Beans have 26.1 grams of protein per 100 grams, while lentils have 24.6 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in broad (fava) beans and lentils.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 8% higher in lentils than in broad (fava) beans. They have 63.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 58.3 grams in broad (fava) beans.


There’s less sugar in lentils than in broad (fava) beans, 63% precisely.

One handful of lentils (28 grams) contains 0.6 grams of sugar, while the same amount of broad (fava) beans contains 1.6 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in broad (fava) beans and lentils.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 7 grams of fiber per portion, broad (fava) beans are a better source of fiber than lentils which broad (fava) beans offer 3 grams per portion.

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Fats

Like most other legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, broad (fava) beans and lentils are low in fat.

Fats in broad (fava) beans and lentils are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in broad (fava) beans and lentils:

  • Broad (Fava) Beans: 1.5 grams per 100 grams
  • Lentils: 1.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, lentils are 33% lower in saturated fats.

Lentils and broad (fava) beans contain 0.2 grams and 0.3 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of broad (fava) beans and lentils.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Broad (Fava) Beans have a higher amount of vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), and vitamin E.

However, lentils have a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), and vitamin K.

Broad (Fava) Beans and lentils contain the same amount of vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins broad (fava) beans and lentils contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Broad (Fava) BeansLentils
Vitamin A53 IU39 IU
Vitamin C1.4 mg4.5 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.555 mg0.873 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.333 mg0.211 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)2.83 mg2.6 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.976 mg2.14 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.366 mg0.54 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)423 µg479 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.05 mg0.49 mg
Vitamin K9 µg5 µg

Broad (Fava) Beans vs Lentils Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the broad (fava) beans and lentils comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Broad (Fava) Beans are a better source of zinc than lentils.

On the other hand, lentils are a higher amount of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and sodium.

Check out the table below to learn how broad (fava) beans and lentils compare when it comes to mineral content.

Broad (Fava) BeansLentils
Calcium103 mg35 mg
Copper0.824 mg0.754 mg
Fluoride2.2 µg0
Iron6.7 mg6.51 mg
Magnesium192 mg47 mg
Manganese1.63 mg1.39 mg
Phosphorus421 mg281 mg
Potassium1060 mg677 mg
Selenium8.2 µg0.1 µg
Sodium13 mg6 mg
Zinc3.14 mg3.27 mg

The Final Word

Broad (Fava) Beans and lentils are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both broad (fava) beans and lentils are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in beans and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes are versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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