As children, we were always told to eat our vegetables, and that was just a torturous ordeal. We’d push our beans and peas around the plate with a long face.
Now we’re all grown up, and those veggies don’t seem so torturous anymore compared to the health deficits of not eating them often. One of the child’s most hated vegetables is green beans.
Green beans are the unripe pods of various bean species. They’re also often called string beans, snap beans, or French beans. Green beans are usually harvested before they mature while still in their pod top preserve the maximum amount of nutrients.
Join Agogo Newsletter
And get Updates for Better Health.
Fresh, frozen, or canned, green beans will provide your body with tons of vitamins and minerals to help it function at its best.
Nutrition Facts of Green Beans
Green beans are highly nutritious. Although they don’t make the list of superfoods, green beans have been ranked among the world’s most healthy foods for many years already. The nutrients found in 100 grams or half a cup of green beans are:
- 31 calories
- 1.8 grams of protein
- 7.1 grams of carbohydrates
- 3.4 grams of fiber
- 0.1 gram of fat
- 14.4 micrograms of vitamin K (18 percent of recommended daily intake)
- 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C (27 percent of RDI)
- 0.2 milligram of manganese (11 percent of RDI)
- 690 IU of vitamin A (14 percent of RDI)
- 0.1 milligram of thiamine (6 percent of RDI)
- 37 micrograms of folate (9 percent of RDI)
- 1 milligram of iron (6 percent of RDI)
- 0.1 milligram of riboflavin (6 percent of RDI)
- 209 milligrams of potassium (6 percent of RDI)
- 25 milligrams of magnesium (6 percent of RDI)
12 Best Health Benefits of Green Beans
The regular consumption of green beans has been proven to have various benefits for different health conditions.
While green beans don’t cure any of the following health issues and conditions, it does aid in combating these conditions and improving your overall health. Below are the major reasons to incorporate green beans into your weekly diet:
1.Ward off cancer
Green beans have an active anti-carcinogenic activity due to its high fiber content that makes it an effective cancer fighter. The high fiber content aids digestion and reduces the stress put on the intestinal tract, which then can help to prevent colon cancer.
The vitamin C in green beans aids in the killing of cancer cells and, in recent times, vitamin C has been used as a chemotherapy treatment along with chemotherapy drugs to specifically target and kill off cancer cells.
The peptides in green beans have also been found to stop the growth of cancer cells. Also, vitamin K in green beans is known to significantly lower the risk of colon, nasal, and oral cancers.
Another thing to note here is that grilling your meat with a lot of green beans would reduce the carcinogenic effect that arises when meat is grilled at a high temperature; this is because of the high level of chlorophyll contained in green beans.
2.Prevent or relieve the symptoms of cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases affect everyone these days and they lead to heart attacks and strokes. Studies have shown that the frequent consumption of beans, including green varieties, leads to a significant reduction in the risk of heart disease.
That’s mostly because of the high fiber content which reduces cholesterol levels and increases food satisfaction thus controlling the appetite.
Green beans have also been proven to be effective in protecting the heart. The vitamin K in green beans removes the calcium from the arteries thus preventing them from calcifying. Lutein, which is also found in green beans, helps to reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Also, the high level of flavonoids in green beans cause anti-thrombotic activity, which prevents blood clots in the veins and arteries, thereby removing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
The high fiber and carbohydrate content of green beans play a great role in controlling the glucose levels in the body. This makes green beans a vital part of the diet of any person with diabetes or a person trying to prevent diabetes.
Green beans are also a low glycemic index food, which means it helps to eliminate insulin sensitivity, helping your body process insulin appropriately. Diabetes is a serious condition and green beans being identified as a natural regulator is a great relief.
4.Strengthen your bone health
The presence of Vitamin K and calcium in green beans makes it a highly important meal for your bone health. The deficit of those nutrients often results in various bone health conditions.
Vitamin K maintains bone density in the body and the calcium keeps the bones strong. Thus, a regular consumption of green beans will definitely result in healthy bones.
5.Relieve the gastrointestinal issues
Gastrointestinal issues like constipation, ulcers, acid reflux, and indigestion can be solved by a moderate intake of green beans. That’s all thanks to the high fiber content.
Organic green beans have been shown to aid digestion and relieve the intestinal tract. However, moderation is the key since beans are the major culprits for bloating.
6.Boost your immunity
The regular consumption of green beans is likely to boost the body’s immune system.
Green beans are a fantastic source of potent antioxidants that act as free radicals eliminators thereby preventing illnesses and tissue damage.
A 2010 study done in Hong Kong found that eating green beans can significantly inhibit the reverse transcription in HIV-1 cells, which is the most common form of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV.
When combined with other HIV -fighting foods, such as spirulina, green beans can be a part of HIV treatment.
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamins that aid fertility. Green beans have a low glycemic index and high iron content.
If you have trouble getting pregnant, snack on green beans and serve them as your side dish to provide your body with the nutrients that will increase your chances of becoming a parent.
Even though green beans can’t replace the antidepressants, eating them regularly can relieve the most common symptoms of depression.
Some studies suggest that eating a handful of cooked green beans when having a panic attack can help to calm you down and boost your mood. The thing is, green beans are fortified with magnesium that quells depression and anxiety symptoms and reduce the likelihood of frequent mood swings.
The folate deficiency is one of the major causes of chronic fatigue. The high folate level in green beans team up with other nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B12 to help you keep fatigue away.
If you’re looking to boost your energy levels, it’s best to have a portion of green beans for lunch. Not only will it help you beat the afternoon slump, but also help you stay energized in the evening.
11.Keep your eyes healthy
The carotenoids found in green beans have been proven to help in the prevention of a certain eye defect called macular degeneration, which is a decrease in vision and eye function.
Eating green beans at least three times a week will ensure that the carotenoid level in your system will stay strong, preventing vision deterioration. Whether you have vision problems or not, green beans are a healthy choice to retaining your eye vision and improving your eye function.
Niacin and thiamine found in green beans help to prevent many infections in the body, including those that cause colds and flu.
Green beans are also plentiful in polyphenolic antioxidants, which are helpful in treating more serious infections, such as fungus, ear infections, and tuberculosis, among the others.
Who Can Benefit Most from Green Beans?
Other than the health deficits listed some people can benefit more from eating green beans, like:
Green beans contain a high level of folic acid, which is incredibly beneficial to a fetus. When the folic acid level in a mother is high, it protects the baby in the womb from neural tube defects and promotes the healthy baby’s development and growth.
For women trying to get pregnant, green beans also have high level of folate and iron which improve fertility.
Our mothers were right, after all. The combination of nutrients contained in green beans makes it an amazingly healthy meal for babies and children. To improve digestion and strengthen bones, green beans should form a regular part of your children’s meal.
However, ensure you buy organic green beans, cook them properly, and spice mildly to make it enjoyable for the child.
The nutritional composition of green beans makes it an essential part of every athlete’s diet.
The calcium and Vitamin K are useful in maintaining the bones of athletes and keep their energy high during the competitions.
People trying to lose weight
If you’re trying to lose weight, green beans should certainly be a part of your diet. This is because green beans – while being high in fiber – are really low on fat and have a very low amount of calories, sodium, and cholesterol.
Green beans will fill you up and help you control your appetite. They also help to curb sugar cravings, albeit have very low sugar content.
The Possible Side Effects of Green Beans
While green beans have various health benefits, it also has extremely low-risk factors that could arise when you overeat them. The possible side benefits are:
- Phytates – Green beans have a high level of phytic acid which can cause nutrient deficiency when overeaten. That’s why it’s critical to cook green beans properly to reduce the phytate level.
- Allergies – Naturally different people have different foods and nutrients they’re allergic to, so if you’re allergic to green beans you should avoid it. Also when giving green beans to your baby make sure you give them the meal for four consecutive days to determine if there are any allergic reactions to it.
- Oxalic Acid – This is common in most green vegetables and can cause stones in the urinary tract. To prevent this from happening, ensure you drink a lot of water during and after eating green beans.
Green beans are a healthy vegetable that can be found anywhere in the world, can be frozen for months without losing a lot of its nutrients and can be added to hundreds of dishes.
This makes it one of the most convenient vegetables to get and consume regularly. Its health benefits are quite numerous, and there’s almost no reason why it shouldn’t form a regular part of your diet.
Remember what your mother always said, “Eat your vegetables.”