While green beans may seem like a dull vegetable, they offer remarkable health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Reinvent these veggies with different spices and flavors, and you’ll create a new and vibrant dish that is far from traditional.

Disease/Ailments:

Cancer prevention
Chronic inflammation

Health benefits:

Antioxidant: In addition to vitamin C, manganese, and beta-carotene, green beans contain antioxidant phytochemicals that have been shown to support antioxidant activities. Green beans contain a wide array of carotenoids and flavonoids that protect the body from oxidation that can lead to many chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular protection: The antioxidant benefits contribute to the body’s protection against cardiovascular disease and disorders. The antioxidants prevent the fats from oxygen damage and improve the levels of blood fats. Omega-3s in green beans amy also contribute to the cardiovascular benefits. While there is a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the green beans, this amount can be significant when comparing it to the amount of calories they contain.

Anti-inflammatory: Carotenoids and flavanoids are high in green beans, and may decrease the activity of certain inflammatory-related enzymes lipoxygenases and cyclooxygenases.

Good source of:

Vitamin C, K, A, manganese

Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:

Purchasing: Pick beans that have a smooth surface and vibrant color. They should be free from indents or discoloration and should have a firm texture that snaps when broken.

Storing: Keep unwashed green beans in a plastic bag where they can store for up to 7 days. Green beans can be frozen for 3-6 months. Before freezing them, steam for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat, and let them cool before placing them in a heavy-duty bag to store in the freezer.

Enjoying: Rinse under running water and remove both ends of the bean.

Resources & recipes:

– Green bean fries: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/green-bean-fries.aspx
– Green beans with slivered almonds: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/green-beans-almonds.php
– Indian style green beans: http://www.chow.com/recipes/12249-addictive-indian-style-green-beans

 

References:

Baardseth P, Bjerke F, Martinsen BK et al. Vitamin C, total phenolics and antioxidative activity in tip-cut green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and swede rods (Brassica napus var. napobrassica) processed by methods used in catering. J Sci Food Agric. 2010 May;90(7):1245-55. 2010.
Danesi F and Bordoni A. Effect of home freezing and Italian style of cooking on antioxidant activity of edible vegetables. J Food Sci. 2008 Aug; 73(6):H109-12. 2008.
EL-Qudah JM. Identification and Quantification of Major Carotenoids in Some Vegetables. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 2009; 6(3):492-497. 2009.
López Hernández J, González-Castro MJ, Simal-Lozano J et al. GC determination of fatty acids in green beans grown in Galicia (N.W. Spain). Grasas y Aceites, 1996; 47(3):182-185. 1996.
Luthria DL and Pastor-Corrales MA. Phenolic acids content of fifteen dry edible bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) varieties. Journal of food composition and analysis, 2006; 19(2-3): 205-211. 2006.
Rickman JC, Barrett DM and Bruhn CM. Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. J Sci Food Agric 87:930-944 (2007). 2007.
Rumm-Kreuter D and Demmel I. Comparison of vitamin losses in vegetables due to various cooking methods. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1990; 36 Suppl 1:S7-14; discussion S14-5. 1990.
Sripanyakorn S, Jugdaohsingh R, Dissayabutr W et al. The comparative absorption of silicon from different foods and food supplements. The British Journal of Nutrition. Cambridge: Sep 28, 2009. Vol. 102, Iss. 6; pg. 825-834. 2009.
Tosun BN and S. Yucecan. Influence of Home Freezing and Storage on Vitamin C Contents of Some Vegetables. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 2007; 6(5):472-477. 2007.
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About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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