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Healthy Habits: Green beans – 5-star worthy vegetable

We were taught to eat our vegetables at dinner whether we liked them or not, and green beans were on that menu from time to time. We might know them better by the names "string beans" or "snap beans". If they weren't at the dinner table, then they would show up at holidays and potlucks for sure. Maybe they were sautéed, raw, from a can,or frozen. However they're prepared, they have a right to be on that list of healthy vegetables and here's why.

Green beans are great for the heart.

They have zero cholesterol which means no risk for buildup of fat in the arteries when you eat them. They also have soluble fiber which has been shown to help lower LDL-cholesterol which is considered the bad type. Cooked green beans have the soluble type with one cup having 4 grams of fiber. Raw green beans have 2.7 grams of fiber in one cup. They low in sodium too, but of course eating them out of a can raise the sodium content.

Green beans can help maintain a healthy weight.

Having green beans in your meals will hardly impact your caloric intake since one cup only has 31 calories. They practically have no fat and only 3.6 grams of sugar in one cup.

Green beans have protein, vitamins and minerals.

Plant proteins do lack one of the essential amino acids, but for those who eat plant based, green beans can help meet daily needs of protein. One cup of raw green beans has 2.6 grams of protein. When eaten with other proteins, they can become complete sources of protein. They also have vitamins A, B-6, C, E and K as well as niacin and thiamin. Plus, green beans have iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

Green beans are a low FODMAP food.

It means for people with sensitive stomachs, green beans are a good vegetable selection. They digest well and rarely cause gas or stomach trouble such as irritable bowel syndrome. FODMAPS – Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols – are carbohydrates that don't digest well and metabolize causing gas, pain or diarrhea.

Green beans are good for your bones, hair, muscles, and organs.

They're good in a salad, tossed in olive oil, dipped in hummus, or even roasted on the grill. There are so many recipes, and we see them in casseroles and soups. There are some foods that win five stars, and green beans are surely in the running for top vegetable.

Megan Johnson McCullough has a doctorate in health and human performance and a master's degree in physical education and health science. She is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Master Trainer and Instructor, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Senior Fitness Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist and Drug and Alcohol Recovery Fitness Specialist.


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