Green beans, also known as string beans or snap beans are a staple in most homes. They are nutrient-rich with many health benefits to boot. Green beans can be tossed in a salad and eaten raw or steamed as well as added to soups, stews, and casseroles. Cooking removes some of the nutrients, so they are best eaten raw.
Green beans are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They also have some calories, protein, fibre, and complex carbohydrates. They are full of antioxidants and low in calories. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps boost the immune system. Vitamin A is a group of vitamins that are important to immune health, reproduction, and healthy vision. String beans are a good source of manganese which supports metabolism, bone health and wound healing. They also have calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Improve heart health
Green beans are rich in soluble fibre which helps improve heart health by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. There is evidence that a high-fibre diet may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Other research shows that the nutrients in beans may also help lower cholesterol which is a risk factor in heart disease and heart attacks.
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Improve digestion and gut health
Green beans are rich in fibre which helps ease digestive issues like constipation, haemorrhoids, ulcers and acid reflux disease. Fibre helps keep the digestive system healthy and running smoothly.
Green beans contain protein which plays a key role in the body maintaining healthy bones, hair, organs, and muscles. Protein is also essential to a healthy immune system.
Aid in a healthy pregnancy
Green beans have folate which is a vitamin B that is necessary for the growth and development of unborn babies. Folate helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
Mental health benefits
The folate in green beans may help with depression. Folate prevents excess levels of homocysteine. When homocysteine levels are high it can stop blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain and interfere with the production of feel-good hormones including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
Protect bone health
Green beans contain calcium, silicon and vitamins A and K which help prevent bone deterioration and osteoporosis. They also increase bone regeneration and overall bone health. Silicon is a rare trace element found in snap beans that helps strengthen bones and connective tissue.
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May manage diabetes
Like other foods with fibre, green beans have a low glycaemic index. A low glycaemic index means it is digested, absorbed, and metabolised slowly causing a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels and insulin levels. This is important for people with diabetes, a condition that requires constant maintenance of blood sugar levels.
Boosts immunity and fights cancer
One of the key benefits of green beans is their high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants boost the immune system, lower the likelihood of stroke as well as fight free radicals linked to illnesses like cancer. String beans have chlorophyll which may help slow the growth of cancer tumours and reduce the risk of cancer. More research is needed though regarding cancer prevention.
The health and nutritional benefits of beans
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