Green beans, also called snap beans or string beans, are a staple in many kitchens across the world . They’re are usually used as a side dish at family gatherings, holiday meals, and nightly dinners. Apart from being so common and loved by many, green beans are a nutritious addition to your diet.
According to the National Nutrient Database of the US, one standard cup of canned green 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.
Health Benefits of Green Beans
There are several health benefits one can derive from adding green beans to their diet. The nutrients contained in it are what makes this staple side vegetable dish beneficial to our health. Many of these nutrients can help reduce the risk of a number of health conditions.
Here are some of the wonderful areas the nutrients in green beans can provide helpful effects:
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
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. 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.
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.
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. Studies have proven that isolating these healthful nutrients in supplement form will not provide the same outcomes. It is best therefore, to consume them as part of a healthy, varied diet.
Green beans contain no cholesterol. Although your body needs some cholesterol for healthy cell growth, too much is bad for you. High cholesterol may lead to a build-up of fat deposits in your arteries. This can decrease blood flow to your heart and brain and cause a heart attack or stroke.
One cup of raw green beans has 2.7 g of fiber. Cooked (boiled) green beans have 4.0 g of fiber. Soluble fiber may help lower LDL or so-called bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. It may also support heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.