Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Green Beans

I looooooove me some green beans. I occasionally save up enough to make a delicious green bean casserole (no cream of mushroom soup allowed in my house, though - i use chicken or turkey stock and delicious herbs and veggies) but usually eat them fresh or marinated in tangy salads.
Last year i grew tri colored beans: quite prolific and delicious. This year i planted some unknown variety passed on to me from my step mama. They seem to be doing well climbing the corn, but are putting on fewer beans than i'm used to. Not sure if it is lack of sunshine from the corn leaves, or too much energy going in to climbing above the corn instead of making beans. What beans there have been have been munched directly in the garden.

Let's see the health attributes of the delicious green  (or purple or yellow) bean.
Well that looks pretty darn good! A whole cup of beans is only 34 calories and pretty high in fiber and protein. I love it when veggies i love so much are so good for you!

According to the World's Healthiest Foods (which is a great website that you should visit and bookmark right now!):
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Plus green beans are very good source of vitamin A (notably through their concentration of carotenoids including beta-carotene), dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin. 
The vitamin K provided by green beans-25% of the daily value in one cup-is important for maintaining strong bones. Vitamin K1 helps prevent excessive activation of osteoclasts, the cells responsible for breaking down bone. In addition, friendly bacteria in our intestines convert some K1 into K2, which activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside of the bone. 
For atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, few foods compare to green beans in their number of helpful nutrients. Green beans are a very good source of vitamin A, notably through their concentration of beta-carotene, and an excellent source of vitamin C. These two nutrients are important antioxidants that work to reduce the amounts of free radicals in the body, vitamin C as a water-soluble antioxidant and beta-carotene as a fat-soluble one. This water-and-fat-soluble antioxidant team helps to prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol is able to stick to and build up in blood vessel walls, where it can cause blocked arteries, heart attack or stroke. Getting plenty of beta-carotene and vitamin C can help prevent these complications, and a cup of green beans will provide you with 16.6% of the daily value for vitamin A along with 20.2% of the daily value for vitamin C.    (Green beans are good for the heart!!!)    -WHFoods
Not only that - green beans give you energy (full of iron), have healthful antioxidants, boost the immune system and are anti-immflamatory, something i need to think of more often with my aging joints.

So, go eat some fresh beans! 
Serving ideas:
  • Right off the vine
  • Steamed ever so briefly and served with homemade butter and a pinch of salt
  • As an alternative to carrots or celery to dip in hummus (or ranch if you want to negate the healthfulness)
  • Wrap in a foil packet with a little sesame or olive oil, salt or soy, and diced garlic and throw on the grill

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