Green beans, also called snap beans or string beans, are a staple in many kitchens across Canada. They’re a beloved side dish at family potlucks, holiday meals, and nightly dinners.
Whether you blanch them, sauté them, or eat them straight from a can, green beans are a nutritious addition to your diet.
Here are some of the health benefits of green beans.
Green beans help you maintain a healthy weight – One cup of raw green beans has just 31 calories, virtually no fat, and only 3.6 grams (g) of sugar. That’s fantastic news if you’re watching your waistline.
Green beans are heart healthy – Green beans contain no cholesterol. Although your body needs some cholesterol for healthy cell growth, too much is bad for you.
High in fiber – One cup of raw green beans has 2.7 g of fiber. Cooked (boiled) green beans have 4.0 g of fiber, some of it soluble 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.
Low Salt Content – The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends eating no more than 2,300 milligrams (approx. 1 tsp) of sodium daily for optimal heart health. Green beans are naturally low in sodium. One cup has only 6.6 milligrams (mg).
Green beans contain protein – Your body needs protein to maintain:
- healthy bones
Protein is also essential to a healthy immune system. One cup of raw green beans has almost 2 g of protein.
Green beans are a good source of vitamins and minerals – Green beans contain many essential vitamins, including folate. One cup of raw green beans contains 33 micrograms (mcg) of folate, almost 10 percent of the daily recommended value.
Good Source of Vitamin C – One cup of raw green beans contains 12.2 mg of vitamin C, around 25 percent of the daily recommended value. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system.
Good Source of Vitamin A – One cup of raw green beans provides 690 IU of Vitamin A, a little less than 15 percent of the daily recommended value. Source of Other vitamins – Some other vitamins in one cup of raw green beans include:
- vitamin K: 43 mcg
- thiamin: 0.1 mg
- niacin: 0.7 mg
- vitamin B-6: 0.14 mg
- vitamin E: 0.41 mg
Good Source of Minerals – Green beans are a good source of minerals, especially manganese. This essential mineral supports your metabolism and has antioxidant abilities. It also supports bone health and promotes wound healing.
Other minerals in one cup of raw green beans include:
- calcium: 37 mg
- iron: 1.03 mg
- magnesium: 25 mg
- phosphorous: 38 mg
- potassium: 211 mg
- zinc: 0.24 mg
How to choose and store green beans
Fresh green beans are the healthiest option. Look for beans that are bright green and free of black spots and blemishes. The beans should not be flimsy. For the most nutritional benefits, eat fresh green beans as soon as possible after harvesting or purchasing.
Cooking green beans may cause a reduction in some nutrients such as vitamin C, as does thawing frozen green beans. As a result, don’t thaw frozen green beans and cook them in a small amount of water for the least amount of time necessary.
Fresh green beans should be refrigerated in a plastic bag and used within one week.