Green beans nutrition facts. How many times did your parents tell you to "eat your green beans" when you were a kid? Probably a lot. Green string beans are a super healthy, nutritious food, with a nice crunchy texture, that can also be pretty darn delicious if you prepare them the right way. And as everyone knows, if you can cook a healthy food to taste good, you're that much more likely to actually eat it.
How They're Different
Unlike other beans, which are allowed to mature before they are harvested and dried, green beans are eaten while the beans are still young and inside the pod. When buying green beans, make sure that they're a nice green color, and that the beans aren't bulging out. If they are, the green beans are more likely to be tough and overripe. Fortunately, green beans are a very sustainable food to grow; more than half of green beans sold in the U.S. are grown within our boundaries.
Green Beans Nutrition
Now for some more specific green beans nutrition facts. One serving will net you only about 30 calories, which given a 2,000-calorie diet, is pretty insubstantial. However, you get a lot of bang for your buck with those calories. (Green beans are a vegetable, after all, which tend to be more nutrient-dense than calorie-dense.) They're extremely low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat, and a great source of dietary fiber, which has been linked with lowered LDL cholesterol levels.
Here are some of the vitamins that are present in high amounts in green beans: manganese; folate; vitamins A, B6, C, and K; copper; potassium; phosphorous; magnesium; iron calcium; niacin; riboflavin; thiamin; and silicon. Phew, that's a mouthful. But there's more.
Research has shown that green beans contain a high amount of carotenoids, like beta-carotene, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, and lutein. These are the same nutrients for which tomatoes and carrots are praised. The main reason green beans aren't recognized for their carotenoid content is because the chlorophyll in green beans covers up in green what would otherwise be a brighter, more colorful vegetable. But eating them still gives you the benefit of that high antioxidant content.
How to Eat Them
Green beans can be eaten many different ways, but I would recommend eating them raw, steamed, fried, or roasted. Boiling them may draw out many of the precious nutrients into the water. Canned and frozen green beans are a good alternative if you can't get fresh ones.
One potential drawback to this food to keep in mind is that they contain oxalates, which can potentially interfere with the absorption of calcium, which can lead to kidney- or gallstones. This is one thing to keep in mind if you have a disorder involving one of these organs.