Diet

Why iron-rich green beans are nature's multivitamin

Green beans are rich in B-complex vitamins as well as fibre and protein, making them a particularly nutritious choice. Try them in this delicious dish with apples and ginger

Julie Daniluk

Green beans are an excellent source of protein and fibre; vitamins A, B complex, C, and K; and the minerals iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. This makes green beans one of the most nutritious foods on the planet — sort of like a vegetable multivitamin.

Green beans can be called by many other names: French beans, runner beans, winged beans, string beans and snap beans. Essentially, green beans are the unripe fruit of of any kind of bean. All over the world, they’re enjoyed steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. Green beans are much easier to digest than mature dried beans, so they are well tolerated by most people.  

Here’s why green beans are a must have on your dinner plate:

1. Eat green beans to lessen your chances of a painful sunburn: Green beans are high in carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein. Carotenoids are normally found in fruits and vegetables that are red or orange in colour. These pigments are masked in green beans by their high amounts of chlorophyll, which turns the plant green. Beta carotene and lutein have been shown to stop erythema, which is the redness and inflammation that occur on the skin when you get sunburned.

2. Green beans are high in chlorophyll: Chlorophyll is researched for its ability to stop the multiplication of tumor cells caused by benzopyrene toxicity. Benzopyrenes are created when meats are charred and overly well-done. Be sure to include green beans at your next barbecue to counteract the toxic effects of these known carcinogens.

3. They have the highest antioxidant value of the bean family: Green beans contain quercetin and kaemferol, two very potent antioxidants. These antioxidants are being researched as a complementary treatment for Parkinsons disease to stop the death of the dopamine-creating cells and potentially slow the progression of the disease.

4. Green beans promote healthy skin and joints: Green beans are high in the mineral silicon, used to support the integrity of our connective tissue including cartilage, ligaments, skin and bones. Silicon has also been shown to improve bone health in post-menopausal women.

5. Decrease your chances of bone fractures: Green beans are high in vitamin K, which is needed to moderate blood clotting as well as aid in the development and strength of the bone matrix. Vitamin K has been directly linked to the prevention of bone fractures and osteopenia.

Ginger apple green beans

When I made this recipe for my in-laws, my mother-in-law said, “Eating with you is like dining in a restaurant.” The sweet apple, the spicy ginger, and the fragrant thyme all combine into a quick and easy delicious summer dish.

Ingredients:
Salad:

4 cups green beans, tipped
1 apple, diced
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme, stem removed

Dressing:
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp ginger root, grated

Directions:

1.   Steam beans five minutes until crisp tender. Drain.

2.   Place all ingredients into bowl, then toss with dressing until well coated.
Makes eight servings

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

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