What are Green Beans?
Green beans are members of the common bean family, Phaseolus vulgaris, and are a popular part of diets around the world. There are slight variations in the bean – they can be different shapes, colors (even purple), and by different names, including French beans, fine beans, string beans, or even squeaky beans, depending on the region of the world. There are approximately 150 varieties of green beans throughout the world! Despite the variable appearance of the beans, their nutritional content and health benefits remain similar.
Green beans are a versatile vegetable that, as mentioned, can be grown in many different climates. This has made them a popular and globally recognized food. Although popularized in many American and European dishes, they are widely cultivated across Asia and Africa as well. They appear in a wide array of cultural dishes and offer health benefits to people all around the world.
Watch Video: 9 Best Benefits Of Green Beans
Types of Beans
Green beans fall into two categories: “pole beans” and “bush beans”. Pole beans tend to climb like vines, require support systems to grow properly, and are slightly slower in reaching maturity. Bush beans are lower to the ground, require no support, and have faster developmental rates, meaning that some farmers and growers can have more than one crop of bush beans in a single season. It is important to remember that green beans are unripe or immature foods, so some people prefer to soak or cook the beans before eating them. However, there are no proven harmful effects of eating raw green beans.
While many “common beans” share similar attributes, they are unique and are chosen according to the individual properties that each of the beans offers. Green beans are a favorite choice in many cultures for the variety of vitamins, nutrients, and beneficial properties they contain.
Green Beans Nutrition Facts
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.22|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||6.97|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||2.7|
|Sugars, total [g]||3.26|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||37|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||1.03|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||25|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||38|
|Potassium, K [mg]||211|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||6|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.24|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||12.2|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.14|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||33|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||35|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||690|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.41|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0|
|Vitamin D [IU]||0|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||43|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.05|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.01|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.11|
|Fatty acids, total trans [g]||0|
|Sources include : USDA|
Health Benefits of Green Beans
In addition to being versatile and delicious in many culinary preparations, green beans provide a wealth of nutrients. Let’s look at the wide range of benefits in detail.
Reduce Heart Diseases
Green beans may help reduce the risk of heart diseases due to their high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids are fruits and vegetables. They have high levels of flavonoids that contain certain anti- properties. Test subjects with high flavonoid levels experienced anti-thrombotic results, preventing blood clots in the arteries and veins. diseases, heart attacks, and strokes are commonly caused by thrombotic activity, so incorporation of green beans in your diet may help mitigate some of these conditions.commonly found in
May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
It has been suggested that increased produce (fruit and vegetable) consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancers. One recent study has shown green bean consumption may be beneficial for preventing pre-cancerous polyps that commonly lead to colon cancer. Many studies have tried to link dry bean intake to cancer prevention, with limited results. However, new evidence suggests that increasing dietary green bean intake can reduce the risk of cancerous adenoma recurrence and colorectal cancer. More investigation is still needed on this topic before any more definitive conclusions can be made.
The high fiber content of green beans can also positively impact the digestive system, easing the digestive process and promoting bowel movements, which decreases the stress on the bowel walls. Certain studies have shown a positive correlation between increased fiber intake and a reduction in colon cancer; but again, further in-depth research studies are still underway.
Additionally, the presence of chlorophyll in green beans may also be beneficial in cancer prevention. A research study conducted at Oregon State University in the United States notes that a compound in exhibits cancer chemopreventive properties.
A study on plant foods at the Central Food Technological Research Institute, India claims that green beans are one of the vegetables known to have a definitive influence on patients with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that requires constant maintenance of blood sugar levels at a normal level so the body can perform necessary tasks. Natural regulators of diabetes are rare, so the connection of green beans and similar plants to the control or early prevention of diabetes is great news for many to manage and prevent the disease.
The presence of various immune system-boosting antioxidants in green beans is well known. However, as more research on their benefits is conducted, even more, antioxidant properties have come to light. Antioxidants are beneficial compounds in our body that seek out dangerous free radicals, with the goal of eliminating them from our system before they can cause illness or tissue damage.
Green beans are a good source of carotenoids and flavonoids, with carotenoids found in green beans contain antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein. Flavonoids contain basic antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, but also more useful and beneficial ones like catechin and . Catechin has been associated with reducing the severity of strokes.
Certain specific carotenoids that are found in green beans – as mentioned above – can prevent macular degeneration, which is a decrease in vision and eye function. Lutein and zeaxanthin are focused at the macula on the eye, and play a key role in preventing any stress to the inner workings of the eye. Ensuring that these carotenoid levels stay strong to prevent vision deterioration is one of the many benefits of including green beans as part of your balanced diet.
Improve Bone Health
Green beans are a source of vitamin K. Extensive research on the effects of vitamin K on the body suggests that this vitamin is important for keeping the bones intact.
Calcium, found in green beans, is also integral in preventing bone deterioration and osteoporosis.
Silicon is a less common mineral to hear about, and significant amounts are relatively rare in most foods. However, green beans are a great source of silicon, which is a key element in bone and overall bone health.
Treat Gastrointestinal Issues
Green beans belong to the category of low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) foods. Some experts recommend low FODMAP diets to those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders with symptoms such as bloating, cramps and intestinal distress.
As mentioned, they are packed with fiber, which is a highly beneficial compound in our bodies. By keeping enough fiber in our diets, we are able to ease certain digestive issues like constipation, hemorrhoids, ulcers, and acid reflux disease. These conditions range from mild irritants to potentially life-threatening, and the amount of fiber we consume is a key element in their prevention. In a normal serving of green beans, which is 110 grams, you can gain 15 percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber. They are one of the best vegetables to keep your stomach working properly.
Fertility & Pregnancy
In the Harvard Medical School‘s article titled, “Follow The Fertility Diet?” it emphasizes the consumption of healthy foods like green beans and pumpkins to increase fertility, given these foods are a powerhouse of various nutrients.
Green beans are a great source of folic acid, which plays a key role in a number of internal processes, but none are more important than protecting infants in the womb. Folic acid levels in a woman’s body are vital to the normal and healthy development of the fetus in utero, especially in preventing neural tube defects. Green beans provide an easy and delicious way to keep folic acid levels high and ensure a healthy and happy baby.
Green Beans Side Effects
Green beans are one of those foods with extremely few risk factors. A few risk factors include the following:
Phytates: Phytic acid is present in green beans, and can contribute to nutrient deficiencies when consumed in excess. Phytic acid binds with calcium, zinc, and other important minerals, and prevents them from being absorbed by the body. Although the phytate levels in green beans are relatively low, if you suffer from other conditions that cause a mineral deficiency, the addition of more phytic acid may not be the best choice for you. Also, cooking or soaking beans significantly reduces amounts of phytic acid, so just avoid eating them raw if you are concerned about phytate levels.
Lectins: Lectins are carb-binding proteins found in a variety of foods, but are notoriously present in beans. Green beans happen to have lower levels than others, but it is still there, and too much lectin can cause the proteins to bind up the intestinal system and cause a variety of digestive problems. Similar to phytic acid, cooking at high temperatures or prolonged soaking in water can reduce the lectin content of most foods.
Allergies: As with any food, some people are allergic to green beans and other legumes, so make sure to consult with a doctor about how to treat your food allergies.