What is a bean that doesn’t feel like a bean? You are right! Green Beans are it!
The green bean originates in Central and South America. The green bean was domesticated in ancient times, but researchers can’t say exactly where, although seeds of cultivated forms were found in deposits from Callejon de Huaylas, Peru with a radiocarbon dating of 7680 B.P. and from 7000 B.P. in Tehuacán, Mexico.
The green bean was introduced to the Mediterranean upon the return of Columbus from his second voyage to the New World in 1493. In Columbus’s diary from November 4, 1492 he describes lands in Cuba planted with faxones and fabas “different than ours.” Later he encounterd fexoes and habas that were different than the ones he knew from Spain. Faxones was probably the cowpea and fabas and habas was the fava bean. The beans Columbus found were undoubtedly what is now designated Phaseolus vulgaris . The bean spread into the eastern Mediterranean and by the seventeenth century was cultivated everywhere in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Wow! Who knew?
The nutritional benefits of green beans are hard to argue with. These delicious and crunchy beans are low in calories and fat and contain no cholesterol. The fiber content is very high, and it also provides some of your daily protein requirements. They also act as an easy source for acquiring vitamins like A, C, K, B6, and folic acid. In terms of minerals, green beans are a good source of calcium, silicon, iron, manganese, potassium, and copper.
Health Benefits Of Green Beans
Cardiovascular Disease: Green beans can help reduce the risk of heart disease due to their high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids are polyphenolic antioxidants that are commonly found in fruits and vegetables. They have high levels of flavonoids and these antioxidants have certain anti-inflammatory properties. Test subjects with high flavonoid levels experienced anti-thrombotic results, preventing blood clots in the arteries and veins. Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes are commonly caused by thrombotic activity, which means that a healthy volume of green beans and flavonoids in a diet can help prevent some of these conditions.
Colon Cancer: Recent studies have shown green bean consumption to be beneficial for preventing pre-cancerous polyps that commonly lead to colon cancer. Many studies have tried to link dry bean intake to cancer prevention, with limited results. However, new evidence suggests that increasing dietary green bean intake can reduce the risk of cancerous adenoma recurrence and colorectal cancer. More studies are ongoing, but that linkage is very important.
Secondly, the high fiber content of green beans can also positively impact your digestive system. Certain types of fiber can ease the digestive process and promote healthy bowel movements, which decreases the stress on the intestinal tract. Certain studies have shown a positive correlation between increased fiber intake and a reduction in colon cancer, but again, more research is still being performed.
Diabetes: These power-packed legumes have been shown to help manage and regulate diabetes symptoms in many patients. Certain studies have shown a definitive hypoglycemic influence on patients with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that requires constant maintenance of blood sugar levels at a normal level so the body can perform necessary tasks. Natural regulators of diabetes are rare, and the connection of beans and similar plants to the control or early prevention of diabetes is great news for many people.
Immune System: The presence of various immune system-boosting antioxidants in green beans is well known, but as more research on their benefits is done, it is becoming clear that there are far more antioxidant properties than we previously thought. Antioxidants are beneficial compounds in our body that seek out dangerous free radicals and eliminate them from our system before they can cause illness or tissue damage. Mother Natures medicine!
They are a good source of flavonoids and carotenoids, but the variety of those pigments was previously unknown. Flavonoids contain basic antioxidants like quercetin and kamferol, but also more useful and beneficial ones like catechins and epicatechins. Catechins have been shown to reduce the severity of strokes. Carotenoids found in green beans contain antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein. Beta carotene has been linked to a number of benefits within the body.
Eye Health: Certain specific carotenoids that are found in green beans can also prevent macular degeneration, which is a decrease in vision and eye function. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are focused at the macula on the eye, and play a key role in preventing any stress to the inner workings of the eye. Ensuring that these carotenoid levels stay strong to prevent vision deterioration is one of the many benefits of including green beans in your balanced diet.
Bone Health: There are a number of nutrients, such as calcium, found in green beans that are integral in preventing bone deterioration and osteoporosis. They contain vitamin K, vitamin A, and silicon. Deficiencies in many of these compounds have been connected to increased bone loss, strength, and durability. Silicon is not the most common mineral to hear about, and significant amounts are relatively rare in most foods. However, green beans are a terrific source for silicon, which is a key element in bone regeneration and overall bone health. Go bones!
How could you not love this humble veggie? It is healthy, affordable and available year round.
Hurry over and try some this week at Cuisine for healing. We have green bean almondine with our delicious cod.
Happy Healthy Eating!