Ask yourself….what are the most nutritious vegetables on the planet? My first thoughts might be kale, broccoli, garlic, tomatoes, and other such lauded veggies. The humble green bean would probably not come to mind initially. However, since green beans (also known as string beans) are such a common summer vegetable, I wanted to share a healthy way to prepare them, and I decided to look into their nutritional content as well. I must say I was pleasantly surprised!
Green beans definitely hold their own when it comes to their nutritional status, coming out on the top for nutrient content when compared to other members of the bean and pea family. Specifically, green beans have a great variety of anti-oxidants, vital combatants to oxidative stress (free radicals) in the body. Green beans also contain a good amount of silicon, which is an essential mineral in bone health and in connective tissue health.
And did you know that green beans contain a significant amount of Omega 3’s? The Omega 3 content is fairly large in comparison to the number of calories per serving. Research indicates that green beans are good for cardiovascular health, and it may be a combination of their omega 3 (ALA) content and their antioxidant content that is responsible for this. In addition to cardiovascular benefit, there is preliminary evidence to suggest that the anti-inflammatory compounds in green beans may directly or indirectly play a role in the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. Hail to the humble green bean!
To preserve the majority of the nutritional benefits it’s best to steam for no longer than 5 minutes. Please enjoy the recipe below!
Garlic Steamed String Beans
(Courtesy: Integrative Nutrition)
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
1 pound string beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari
4 tablespoons tahini
Juice of half a lemon
Wash beans, chop ends off and cut in half. Fill a pot with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place beans in a steaming basket and place over boiling water. Cover beans and steam for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine garlic, tamari, tahini and lemon juice. When beans are done, add them to the garlic mixture. Mix until string beans are coated and serve.