Green Beans – The Forgotten Vegetable!

More beans please! Yes, the green one’s please!
Many studies have suggested that including more plant foods, such as green beans, in the diet decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality.

Green beans may not be the first food that comes to mind as you plan your meals, but with a little ingenuity they can be incorporated in various ways into your meals or snacks.

Why Eat Green Beans?
 The are a good source of plant protein which helps build healthy muscle, bone, hair.
 Green beans are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health and well-being.
 It contains a B- Vitamin called folate that helps prevent neural tube defects and other birth defects.
 Vitamin C – is an antioxidant in green beans that helps boost your immune system and helps to build collagen, thus helps to maintain the integrity of your skin.
 Vitamin A – another immune health booster and essential vitamin for vision and reproduction.
 Fibre – They’re a good source of fibre. Soluble fibre in green beans helps to lower LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) as well as total cholesterol levels. Thumbs up for it’s heart protecting and ani-inflammatory effects.
 FODMAPs – these are undigested carbohydrates that are metabolized by bacteria in your gut leading to gas, belly pain, diarrhoea, and constipation.

Eating foods high in FODMAPs may worsen digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux. Eating low FODMAP foods may bring considerable relief to your tummy troubles.
Green beans are a low FODMAP food and can be enjoyed by many people who have chronic digestive issues.

How to Get the Most Out of My Green Beans?

 Eating them fresh soon after they’re purchased or harvested is the best.
 If refrigerating them, keep them in a plastic bag and eat within one week.
 When cooking them, add as little water as possible to prevent leaching of the vitamins and minerals and cook for the least amount of time to reduce nutrient losses.

5 Ways with Green Beans:

 As a light meal – blanch or steam fresh green beans and toss them with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
 As a side veg – sauté fresh green beans in olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, salt & pepper!
 As a snack – dip fresh green beans into hummus or plain, low-fat yoghurt flavoured with fresh herbs or low-fat cottage cheese.
 As a salad – add them blanched or steamed to your leafy greens.
 As a treat snack – toss fresh green beans in olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and freshly-grated parmesan cheese, and roast at 220°C until crisp but tender!

Remember, that it is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety of vegetables than to concentrate on any individual ones as this is the key to better health!

Written by Nasreen Hoosen, RD(SA)

About the author:

Tanya has been providing dietary guidance since 2009 as a registered dietician licensed in South Africa. Her goal is to help patients understand the connection between diet and diagnosis for improved nutritional well being.

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