Green beans are full of so many health benefits. They are a tasty healthy option to add to a meal. Many of us grow them in our garden so we can eat them fresh in the summer. The really good news is that this superfood has health benefits from helping lose weight to preventing the spread of HIV to lowering the risk of cancer.
Health Benefits of Green Beans
1. Beneficial for your Bones
Green beans are high in vitamin K, a nutrient needed by the body to build and keep bones strong.
Note: Even though green beans have many benefits, there are a couple of cautions. They do have oxalic acid which is found in many green vegetables.
They also have a small amount of phytic acid which in some people blocks mineral absorption. Phytic acid is found in most grains, nuts and seeds.
2. Prevents the Spread of HIV
In Hong Kong, a study that isolated a nutrient from French green beans found that HIV-1 (the most common strain of the infection) was considerably inhibited.
3. Protects the Heart
Including beans in your meals four times a week was found to lower the risk of heart disease up to 22 percent, compared to only having them once a week. Also, the studies found that eating a ¾ cup of beans a day lowered the risk of heart attack by 38 percent.
4. Anti Cancer Properties
Healthy green beans have many anti-cancer properties. They are high in antioxidants, full of good fiber, phenolic compounds and saponins, which have been found to end the spread of many cancers in the body.
The abundant peptides in green beans can stop the growth of cancer cells. According to research, eating green beans regularly has shown to lower the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer.
5. Aids with Weight Loss
Green beans are a good food to add to a meal for weight loss as the beans reduce blood glucose levels, making you feel full faster. Including green beans in a healthy meal can help you lose weight.
Green beans are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and vitamin B2. Learn more: Green Bean Nutrition
- One of the most popular garden plants in the world.
- Green beans do grow very fast and can be harvested in 45 to 60 days.
- They are also known as string beans, because of a fibrous string that runs along the seam of the bean.
- There is Green Bean Festival every year in July in Blairsville where you can see cooking contests, go on canning plant tours and other green bean activities.
- Bed bugs can be trapped from the miniature hairs on the bean leaves according to research.
- The US imported two-thirds of their green beans from Mexico, and 26% from Guatemala in 2015.
- They are native to North, South, and Central America.
- Green beans have been cultivated in Mexico for at least 7,000 years.
- They are grown in all over the world in many countries.
How to Select and Store
- The best place to buy your green beans is fresh and loose so that you can sort through them to get the best quality beans at a farmer’s market stall or store. They should feel smooth, be a vibrant green and have no brown spots. The freshest beans will be firm and snap when broken.
- When not in season, whole frozen green beans are an option.
- Put them unwashed in a plastic bag and keep them in the crisper and they will keep for about seven days.
- Green beans are mildly toxic when eaten raw. You can toss them in a salad or eat them fresh from the garden but in limited amounts. The most toxins are concentrated in the seeds rather than the pods so choose pods with small seeds if you are eating them raw. Cooking breaks down the toxins.
First, wash them under running water and then cut off both ends of the beans.
To keep it simple steam the green beans for maximum flavor for 3 to 5 minutes; keep your eye on them because you don’t want to overcook them and lose the green bean health benefits. If you are cooking the beans for a salad, pour ice cold water over them to stop the cooking and set the color.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.