When you think of fruits, you typically think of sweeter ones like strawberries or bananas. As for green beans, you normally just expect them to be a vegetable because of their green color and lack of sweetness. However, green beans are technically a fruit because they come from the flowers of a plant. It can be surprising to hear, but green beans are also technically among the most popular fruits in the world.
There are plenty of different ways you can use green beans. Some eat them raw (or out of a can) or cook them in with other foods. While you might be adding some unhealthy ingredients to your green beans, you can see some great benefits if you start eating the raw ones more often. That’s because green beans are packed with some important nutrients that can help your body in a lot of different ways. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of green beans and what those proven health benefits are.
Nutrition of Green Beans
You’re getting a lot of great nutrition from green beans without even getting too many calories. One cup of green beans contains two grams of protein and 15 percent of your daily recommendation of fiber at just 34 calories. Green beans are also a significant source of several vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is the most abundant of the pack, with 30 percent of your daily recommendation. Vitamin K comes in at 20 percent, while vitamin A and folate are all above 10 percent.
Other vitamins found in green beans include vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B6, though in smaller amounts. Of the minerals, you are getting 12 percent of your daily manganese recommendation. While none of the other minerals hit 10 percent, you are still getting a decent amount of important ones such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and copper. To top it off, there is also about 40 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in each serving of green beans.
Green beans can really go a long way in helping you lose weight. Even if many people are using green beans in an unhealthy way, doesn’t mean you have to follow along. Eating raw green beans makes for a great snack or part of a balanced meal, without bringing on many of the calories. What also helps is that there is almost nothing bad for your weight such as saturated fat or even cholesterol.
With a very low amount of calories and decent amount of fiber, you’ll find green beans to be more filling, allowing you to curb cravings. The fiber will also help your digestive system (more on that later), which boosts your metabolism. Green beans might not hit your sweet tooth like other fruits, but you will at least feel more full.
There have been many studies about how eating green beans can have an effect on cancer prevention. What was found was very encouraging, as research shows that green beans can help fight colon cancer. A big part of that is the fiber content that boosts your digestive system, which is a big part of preventing colon cancer. The studies haven’t been concrete as of yet, but positive so far.
It’s not only cancer that green beans can prevent, as they can also boost your immune system. Green beans are a good source of vitamin C that help fight diseases, and plenty of antioxidants. Another big aspect of green beans are flavonoids, which can even help you prevent a stroke. Everything from infections on a minor cut to chronic diseases can be reduced with more green beans.
Green beans are a fantastic way of getting more vitamin K into your diet, which some people take for granted. Vitamin K has been found to help make your bones stronger and more dense, reducing your chances of problems such as osteoporosis later in life. Many people don’t get enough vitamin K, which is why bone loss is so common in elderly people.
The potassium and manganese in green beans are also great for your bones. All the way down to a cellular level, green beans help you by creating more cell production. As a result, your bones get yet another benefit.
Good For the Heart
People who eat more green beans lower their chances of suffering from heart disease or stroke. Your body needs flavonoids and potassium to maintain heart health, which can be found in this superfood. Studies have shown that people who take more of these nutrients are much less likely to have problems with their arteries that result in heart disease.
If you are looking to lower your blood pressure, green beans are a great way of doing that. Potassium and the fact that you can control your weight through a diet that contains green beans will have a very positive effect on your heart. It’s not typically the first food people think about for heart health, but it should be up there.
Earlier we touched on the fiber content and how that can affect both your weight and colon in a positive way. That fiber will have an overall benefit for your digestive health, avoiding nagging problems such as indigestion or irregularity. People don’t tend to think much about it, but a better digestive system has a huge overall effect on your health. Finally, green beans have been shown to be helpful for women who are pregnant or nursing due to the high amounts of folic acid. It can be tough to find the right foods when pregnant, and green beans are among the ones you should be eating.
Summing it Up
With all of the fantastic benefits that you can get from eating green beans, you might think that there has to be some kind of catch. After looking at all of the potential side effects of green beans, it doesn’t appear that there’s much to worry about at all. There is the small potential that eating too many green beans can cause your body to develop kidney or gallstones because of the amount of oxalates.
That is a rare condition, however, and usually only develops in people that already have problems with those conditions. Outside of that, there isn’t anything to dislike about green beans. They can make up for a big part of your diet, but just make sure that you are eating other vitamins and minerals all around as green beans can’t make up your complete daily value. Doing so will make sure that you are really seeing the benefits of eating this wonderful (and surprising) fruit.