Green beans, otherwise known as “snap beans” or “string beans,” pack a lot of nutrients per serving. Green beans are also grown sustainably. They are tasty too! The World’s Healthiest Foods discusses the health benefits of green beans and provides ways to enjoy them for the maximum nutritional benefit.

According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, green beans were originally called string beans because of a “string” that ran the length of a green bean pod. However, over the years this feature has been bred out of the green bean. The beans are usually picked when they are younger and firm, allowing them to be “snapped” open with your fingers. The lineage of green beans can be traced back to Peru. They were transported to the European continent by the Spanish in the 16th century.

The Benefits of the Green in Green Beans

Green beans have a green pigment. This actually contributes to its nutritional quality.  The green color means that the beans have antioxidant carotenoids such as beta-carotene, much like other deeply rich-colored foods like tomatoes or carrots.  

Because of its antioxidants, green beans have benefits for the heart. The World’s Healthiest Foods note that the outer covering shell of the bean has a more direct heart benefit than the small beans inside the pods. Another heart-supporting ingredient in green beans is omega-3 fatty acids.

Other nutrients in a one-cup serving of green beans include:

  • Vitamin K
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B1
  • Fiber
  • Copper

To cook green beans,the World’s Healthiest Foods recommends first washing the beans with running water. Then, snap or cut off each end of the bean. Cook the beans by steaming them for five minutes in a steamer pot. Steaming for a short period of time ensures that the nutrients inside the beans are not lost in the cooking process.

Want to learn more about the health benefits of green beans? Read the full article here:  “Green Beans.”