Green beans, also known as string beans or snap beans, are an important farm crop grown mainly for processing to meet the expanding demand for convenience food. They belong to the family of common beans. Green beans are a common staple in households all over the world. They are a form of legume because the whole pod can be eaten with the seeds—unripe fruit. There are around 130 varieties of green beans recognized, but their nutritional content and health benefits remain similar. They are distinguished from the other varieties in that green beans are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods. They are classified into two types, namely, bush beans and pole beans, based on growth characteristics. Bush beans grow in little bushes, whereas pole beans climb and curl around trellises and other supports. Green beans are easy to prepare and add to dishes. They are rich in nutrients, extremely healthy, and have several health benefits.
Green beans are generally safe for most people. Those who are taking blood-thinners, such as warfarin, should not suddenly change the amount of vitamin K-containing foods such as green beans because vitamin K helps blood clotting. Lectins are proteins present in green beans that help bind carbohydrates. Lectins cause digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea. Cooking beans neutralizes the lectin, making them safe to eat, improves taste, and increases antioxidant levels. Green beans contain phytic acid that can bind with certain minerals such as iron and prevent them from being absorbed. Those who have a mineral deficiency should consult a doctor before consuming additional green beans. Apart from this, green beans are good for you and very healthy.
Nutritional facts of green beans
Green beans are inexpensive; versatile; and a good source of healthy carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and micronutrients. They contain almost no fat or cholesterol. They are enriched with starch and fiber that help provide the body with quick energy and stabilize sugar levels. They also contain many essential vitamins such as A, C, K, B6, and B9 (folates). One cup of raw green beans contains almost 10% of the daily recommended value for folate. Green beans are also rich sources of minerals such as calcium, silicon, iron, manganese, potassium, and copper.
Health benefits of green beans
Green beans are a healthy addition to almost any eating plan because of their low calorie and fat contents. They are also nutrient-dense because they provide beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and their nutrients provide several health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of green beans include:
- Repair cell damage: Green beans are full of antioxidants including vitamin C, flavonols, quercetin, and kaempferol. These antioxidants fight free radicals in the body; reduce cell damage; and promote normal cell structure, development, and functioning.
- Improve heart health: The high level of flavonoids may help reduce the risk of heart diseases and enhance heart health by lowering the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol). The incorporation of green beans in the diet may help mitigate some of the thrombotic conditions of the heart such as blood clots in arteries and veins.
- Protect gut function: The fiber in green beans helps keep the digestive system healthy and run it smoothly. Green beans are also low in fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP), a group of carbohydrates responsible for causing gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Consuming green beans can help improve the symptoms of digestive disorders.
- Aid in healthy pregnancy: Folates present in green beans are necessary for the growth and development of unborn babies. This vitamin also reduces the risk of certain birth defects.
- Promote bone health: The decent amount of calcium and vitamin K present in green beans are important for maintaining strong, healthy bones and reducing the risk of fractures.
- Regulate mood symptoms: Folates present in green beans reduce the amount of homocysteine levels and reduce their interference with the natural production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that regulate the mood.
- May help prevent cancer: Green beans contain several antioxidants that may help slow the growth of tumors and reduce the risk of cancer.
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