Also known as string beans, these bright green and crunchy legumes (not technically a vegetable) are one of America’s most favorite produce picks.
Green beans are picked while still immature and the inner bean is just beginning to form. These are one of the rare varieties of beans that are eaten fresh.
- Because of their rich green color, we don’t always think about green beans as providing us with important amounts of colorful pigments like carotenoids. But they do! Recent studies have confirmed the presence of lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin in green beans.
- When first frozen and then cooked, retention of some B vitamins in green beans (like vitamins B6 and B2) can be as high as 90%. Recent studies have shown that canned green beans, on average, lose about one third of their phenolic compounds during the canning process. They lose B vitamins as well but in the case of some B vitamins like folic acid, as little as 10%.
- Green beans may be a particularly helpful food for providing us with the mineral silicon, which is very important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissue.
- Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are a very good source of manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and vitamin B2. In addition, green beans are a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), niacin, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
Best Ways to Use
- Green beans are a classic ingredient in Salad Nicoise, a French cold salad dish that combines steamed green beans with tuna fish and potatoes.
- Lightly sauté green beans with shiitake mushrooms or other green beans.
- Prepare the perennial favorite, green beans almondine, by sprinkling slivered almonds on ightly sautéed beans.
- Green bean casserole is a holiday staple. You can make it healthier by using fresh beans, Greek yogurt, and low fat cheeses.