The health benefits of eating green beans are numerous. These tiny vegetables provide fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
In fact, green beans contain more vitamin K than almost any other food source.
However, it’s important to be cautious about eating these little green vegetables without cooking.
So, can you eat green beans raw? Or do you have to cook them every time?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Can You Eat Green Beans Raw?
Raw green beans contain lectins that work as an antifungal and natural insecticides for plants.
However, if you consume them, lectins are immune to digestive enzymes and bind to the surface of your digestive tract cells, causing symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and bloating if eaten in large quantities.
Lectins may also damage your gut lining and disrupt your gut’s friendly bacteria, which could lead to gastrointestinal problems.
So, although eating a small number of raw green beans won’t kill you, it is probably best to avoid raw consumption.
Thankfully cooking them takes away this problem, let’s consider their benefits in a bit more detail.
Cooking green beans increases the amount of antioxidants found in the vegetable, according to research published in Nutrition & Metabolism.
However, researchers also found that boiling green beans decreased the amounts of soluble dietary fiber, which could decrease absorption of nutrients.
Certain studies also found that cooking green beans led to greater accumulation of certain types of carotenoid pigments, which are associated with lower risks of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Boiling green beans also resulted in less destruction of the cell walls, which may lead to better digestion.
Cooking green beans also increases the amount of phenolic acids, which are thought to provide health benefits.
In addition, cooking green beans makes it easier to eat them; many people find that eating raw green beans causes indigestion because of the hard texture.
How To Prepare
Green beans are a vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways. They are especially popular in soups and stews or, you can make green bean casserole.
To get your green beans ready to go in the pot, all you have to do is cut off the stem end and the top of the beans.
If the beans are old, it’s also a great idea to remove the stringy bits.
Then, just chop up the beans into whatever size you want.
Here’s a little tip: Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water, to keep the green beans bright.
To steam your green beans you can use a traditional steamer or if you don’t have one simply fill a saucepan with water and place a steamer basket on the top.
Cover the beans and they should be ready in 2 minutes.
Beans And Dieting
Green beans are one of the most versatile vegetables out there. You can make salads out of them, use them as a side dish, or even add them to soups.
But did you know that they can help you shed some pounds too?
Green beans are known to be high in fiber, which helps reduce the amount of food we consume while still feeling satisfied.
Also, because they are low in calories, it makes them perfect for dieters.
In fact, according to studies conducted by the University of Illinois, people tend to feel fuller longer after having eaten a serving of green bean soup compared to those who ate a bowl of white rice.
So what about the taste?
Well some people say green beans have a slightly bitter taste and others say they have very little taste either way they are usually cooked with salt, pepper, garlic or onion, making them delicious enough to enjoy every day.
And since they are relatively inexpensive, you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune on them either.
Many people think green beans are just another vegetable like carrots or broccoli, but they actually offer a lot more nutrition.
In fact, they’re often considered a superfood because of how many nutrients they provide.
Here are some of the reasons why green bean lovers love them so much.
High In Fiber
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of green beans contains 4 grams of dietary fiber.
This is almost twice as much as a cup of peas and three times more than a cup of kidney beans.
Fiber helps keep things moving along in our digestive tract, making us feel full longer and reducing bloating.
Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
One cup of green beans provides nearly 20% of the daily value of vitamin K, which plays a role in bone development.
They also contain 3% of the DV for niacin, which promotes energy metabolism and aids in digestion.
Plus, they give us 8% of the DV for folate, which is essential for cell division and DNA synthesis.
Green beans are also rich in potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, and molybdenum.
Low In Calories
A single cup of green beans contains only 79 calories, half of which come from protein.
On average, vegetables tend to be lower in calories than meat, dairy products, and other animal proteins.
So if you want to lose weight without sacrificing flavor, try adding green beans to your next meal!
Good Source Of Antioxidants
Green beans are packed with antioxidants called flavonoids.
These compounds protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, which may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.
One study found that women who consumed two cups of green beans per week had significantly less oxidative stress than those who didn’t eat any at all.
A Good Source Of Folic Acid
Folate, or folic acid, is an important B-vitamin that helps convert carbohydrates into usable fuel for the body.
It’s especially helpful during pregnancy when the mother needs extra energy to support her growing baby.
Folate is also necessary for proper growth and repair of tissues throughout the body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day.
The recommended intake for pregnant women is 600 mcg per day.
Loaded With Phytochemicals
Phytochemicals are plant chemicals that act like antioxidants.
They prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and may help fight certain types of cancers.
Phytochemicals have been shown to inhibit tumor formation and growth, including breast cancer.
Green beans are loaded with these beneficial compounds, providing up to 10 times the daily value compared to most other vegetables.
Green beans are a great addition to any diet due to their high nutrient content and low calorie count, but be cautious if consuming them raw.