Everything you need to know about green beans

Bean farmers harvest green beans while the beans are still in their pod before they have had a chance to mature.

This is one of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.

Fast facts on green beans

Here are some key points about green beans. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • There are more than 130 varieties of green beans
  • Green beans are a rich source of vitaminsA, C, and K
  • It is important to rinse and drain canned beans to reduce sodium content

Nutrition

[Beans]

Beans carry with them plenty of health benefits.

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds can help reduce the risk of many adverse health conditions.

Many studies have suggested that including more plant foods, such as green beans, in the diet decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality.

Consumption of fruit and vegetables also promotes a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one standard cup of canned snap beans (about 150 grams) contains:

  • 28 calories
  • 0.55 grams (g) of fat
  • 5.66 g of carbohydrate
  • 2.6 g of fiber
  • 1.94 g of sugar
  • 1.42 g of protein

In terms of nutrients, it contains:

  • 17 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 1.2 mg of iron
  • 18 mg magnesium
  • 30 mg of phosphorus
  • 130 mg potassium
  • 24 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A
  • 52.5 mcg of vitamin K
  • 32 mcg of folate

However, one cup of drained canned snap beans also contains 362 micrograms of sodium. Consumers should rinse canned beans before use. For the best source of nutrients and lowest sodium, choose fresh or frozen greens beans for cooking.

Green beans also contain folate, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Benefits

The nutrients provided can help reduce the risk of a number of health conditions.

Cancer

Green beans contain a high amount of chlorophyll.

This may block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines that are generated when grilling meats at a high temperature. Individuals who prefer their grilled foods charred should pair them with green vegetables to decrease the risk.

Fertility and pregnancy

[Beans fertility]

Beans are a good source of iron, and Harvard Medical School suggest that this may enhance fertility in women.

For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources such as spinach, beans, pumpkin, and green beans appears to promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School.

Other studies have shown a correlation between a woman’s level of fertility and the level of according to, including iron, that she consumes.

Pairing iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods like tomatoes, bell peppers, or berries can improve iron absorption.

Adequate folic acid intake is also needed during pregnancy, to protect the fetus against neural tube defects. One cup of green beans provides approximately 10 percent of daily folic acid needs and 6 percent of iron.

Depression

Meeting daily folate needs may also help with depression.

Adequate folate consumption can prevent an excess of homocysteine in the body.

Too much homocysteine can stop blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain, and it can interfere with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

Bone health

A low intake of vitamin K is associated with a higher risk of bone fracture.

Adequate vitamin K consumption improves bone health by modifying bone matrix proteins, improving calcium absorption, and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.

One cup of green beans provides 14.4 micrograms of vitamin K, or almost 20 percent of the daily requirement, 4 percent of a person’s daily need for calcium.

It is important to remember that it is not the individual vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants alone that make vegetables like green beans such an important part of our diet.

It has been proven that isolating these healthful nutrients in supplement form will not provide the same outcomes. It is best to consume them as part of a healthy, varied diet.

Diet

[Beans bones]

Beans can have great benefits for the bone system.

Green beans are available fresh, frozen, or canned. It is important to rinse and drain canned beans, as this reduces the sodium content by up to 41 percent.

Fresh beans should be crisp and bright green in color. Refrigerating them in a bag can maintain freshness.

Quick tips:

  • Some types of green beans can be eaten raw. Just snap or cut off each end and add to a salad or dip in your favorite hummus.
  • Drizzle fresh green beans with olive oil, garlic, and fresh cracked pepper and roast at 425 Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Top fresh green beans with a marinara sauce and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Try some of these healthy and delicious recipes developed by registered dietitians:

Healthy green bean casserole

Quick and easy Mexican minestrone

Sticky sesame green beans

Risks

People who are taking blood-thinners, such as Coumadin, or warfarin, should not suddenly change the amount of food they eat that contains vitamin K, as it plays a large role in blood clotting.

Lectins are a kind of protein that bind up carbohydrates. They are present in beans, including green beans. They can cause problems in the digestive system. Cooking beans can reduce the levels of lectin.

Green beans contain phytic acid, which can bond with minerals and prevent them from being absorbed by the body. People who have a mineral deficiency should check with a doctor before consuming additional green beans.

It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

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