What Are Green Beans?
There are over 130 different varieties of green beans, divided into two categories: bush and pole.
The bush varieties grow on short plants that need no assistance to remain straight (between eight and 20 inches at full height).
While pole green beans must be supported by trellises or other means and can grow up to seven feet long.
It seem to have originated in the country of Peru about 7,000 years ago but are produced all over the world today.
The top producers of green beans as of 2012 were Indonesia, India and China, although green beans are produced in large quantities in the U.S. as well.
While the beans and pods from green beans are the edible parts of the plant, they aren’t the only parts of a green bean plant.
It leaves can be green or purple, and the flowers of the green bean plant are white, pink or purple and often pollinated by insects.
Green beans are also known as string beans or snap beans, although the string found in some types of green beans is not very tasty.
In 1894, botanist Calvin Keeney successfully removed the string of some green bean species through selective breeding, earning him the nickname “father of the stringless bean.”
In addition to their many health benefits for humans, green beans also help plant health by killing fungi that are commonly responsible for various types of plant death.
Green beans belong to the Phaseolus vulgaris classification of bean, one type of legume.
This classification originates from the Fabaceae family, genus vicia.
While Phaseolus vulgaris is the scientific name for green beans, this exact name refers to several different types of beans, including kidney, red, white, pinto and other types of beans.
Together, the Phaseolus vulgaris beans are often referred to in research as “common beans.”
Specifically, what you recognize as green beans may also be divided into multiple categories.
All green beans are the unripe fruit inside protective pods of various types of common beans.
One prevalent type of green beans is known as the haricot vert or French green bean.
It’s classified by a longer, thinner and more tender pod.
One serving of raw green beans (about half a cup or 100 grams) contains about:
- 31 calories
- 7.1 grams carbohydrates
- 1.8 grams protein
- 0.1 gram fat
- 3.4 grams fiber
- 16.3 milligrams vitamin C (27 percent DV)
- 14.4 micrograms vitamin K (18 percent DV)
- 690 IU vitamin A (14 percent DV)
- 0.2 mg manganese (11 percent DV)
- 37 micrograms folate (9 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram thiamine (6 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram riboflavin (6 percent DV)
- 1 milligram iron (6 percent DV)
- 25 milligrams magnesium (6 percent DV)
- 209 milligrams potassium (6 percent DV)
1. Helps Fights and Prevent Cancer
Green beans have long been regarded as a healthy food that supports various areas of the body.
One of the most heavily researched benefits is in the ability of green beans nutrition to help prevent and stop the spread of several cancers throughout the body.
While one of the reasons for this is the high antioxidant load in green beans nutrition.
It help scavenge free radicals in the body responsible for many diseases.
one overview study that compiled decades of research on the health benefits of green beans (and other varieties of Phaseolus vulgaris beans) found that:
“The anticarcinogenic activity of beans is related to the presence of resistant starch, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, phenolic compounds
as well as other microconstituents such as phytic acid, protease inhibitors, and saponins.”
Basically, this refers to the fact that nutrients present in green beans help exert anticarcinogenic properties in the body.
Independently from the antioxidant activity found from green beans nutrition.
Vitamin C is also a commonly known anticancer vitamin, as it has been known, in large doses, to treat cancer.
Many health practitioners also use vitamin C to supplement chemotherapy drugs.
As the vitamin helps the drugs target only the cancerous cells, rather than the entire body.
One serving of green beans contains over a quarter of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
The amount of vitamin K in a serving provides over half of one day’s recommended intake as well.
Guess what else has been proven to protect the body against cancer?
That’s right, vitamin K has had success in reducing the risk of prostate, colon, stomach, nasal and oral cancer.
2. Slows the Spread of HIV in the Body
A fascinating study out of Hong Kong in 2010 studied the effect of a specific nutrient found in French green beans on tumors, fungus and HIV.
It found positive effects in all three subsets, but most interestingly was its effect in inhibiting HIV.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is an incurable virus spread by the exchange of certain bodily fluids.
Unlike other viruses, HIV cannot be completely removed from the body.
Left untreated, it can develop into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
HIV/AIDS is associated with a number of health risks because it attacks T cells that normally help your body fight off infection.
The HIV virus works by a process known as reverse transcription, in which the viral cells use an enzyme, reverse transcriptase, to create what’s known as complementary DNA, or cDNA, from RNA templates.
This cDNA is bound to the body’s DNA and creates a long-term infection that can’t be separated from the body.
3. Decreases Risk for and Helps Manage Diabetes
When you consume whole-grain foods, such as beans and other legumes, three or more times in one week, you can decrease your risk of diabetes up to 35 percent.
Other risk reduction methods for this disease include consuming foods with a low glycemic index.
Due to of the type of dietary fiber and carbohydrates found in green beans nutrition.
These veggies are considered a low glycemic index food because the carbohydrates release slowly in your system and help avoid spikes and dips in glucose levels in your blood.
Beans are among the best whole-grain foods to eat, especially if you’re monitoring your glucose levels and are already at risk for obesity or diabetes.
Other popular whole-grain foods like baked potatoes and rice often have a high glycemic index, usually somewhere between 50 and 85, whereas beans score a low 20 on the scale.
Not only do foods like green beans affect your potential risk of diabetes, but if you already have diabetes, your diet is crucial to managing this chronic condition.
That’s why these beans should be part of any diabetic diet plan.
4. Helps Maintain Healthy Eating Habits
They are an excellent food for managing glucose levels in people at risk for obesity because they’re a whole grain that scores very low on the glycemic index scale.
This is not just for people at risk for diabetes.
Adding it to a balanced meal is clinically proven to help you lose weight by reducing your blood glucose levels.
Making you feel full and slowing the secretion of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, that causes your brain to desire to eat again.
5. Keeps Bones Strong
Because of its high vitamin K content, green beans nutrition can also help your body build and maintain strong bones.
From the elderly at risk for osteoporosis to athletes, consuming high levels of vitamin K helps your body maintain bone density.
It reduce the risk of bone fracture and even help heal broken bones.