The lean green bean

The previous two articles I wrote for the nutrition column have been about different types of beans. The first article covered the health benefits of starchy beans such as black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans. The second article was focused on coffee beans. This week, I am going to wrap up my series on beans by writing about one last common bean many Americans consume: green beans.

Green beans, also known as snap beans or string beans, are a tasty, low fat, low calorie option that is full of various vitamins and minerals. Below is a list of a few of the vitamins that can be found within green beans.

Vitamin A

• Most commonly known for its vision protection properties, there are many other reasons why we should include vitamin A in our diets. One of these reasons is due to vitamin A’s antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that may help prevent free radical damage and inflammation. Because damage from free radicals and inflammation may play a role in the development of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, vitamin A may help decrease our likelihood of developing such conditions. Vitamin A helps keep our skin healthy as we age as well.

Vitamin C

• During this time of the year when colds and the flu are spreading throughout communities, vitamin C can help keep our immune system strong, so we are better prepared to fight off such illnesses. Like vitamin A, vitamin C has been found to keep our skin healthy throughout the years.

Vitamin K

• One last vitamin green beans contain is vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for normal blood clotting and our bone health. Like vitamin A, vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin meaning it needs fat to be absorbed. Which types of fats should we consume to make sure we are able to absorb our vitamin K? Focus on healthy, unsaturated fats such as nuts and seeds, avocados and oils like olive and canola.

In addition to the many vitamins green beans contain, they provide many minerals as well. A few minerals these powerful vegetables supply include iron, magnesium and potassium. Overall, green beans are a nutrient powerhouse!

Looking for a new recipe to try that contains green beans? Try the recipe below. Enjoy!

Roasted New Potatoes & Green Beans

Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2011

Ingredients:

• 1-1/2 pounds new or baby potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half

• 8 ounces green beans, trimmed

• 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste

• 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar

• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

• 3 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens

Preparation:

• Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F.

• Toss potatoes and green beans in a large bowl with 2 teaspoons oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are tender and golden and the green beans are tender and browned in spots, 25 to 35 minutes.

• Whisk the remaining 3 teaspoons oil, vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Stir in cheese and scallion greens.

• When the vegetables are done, toss with the dressing in the bowl. Serve warm.

Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.

Nutrition Information:

Serving size: about ? cup

Per serving: 151 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat); 3 g fiber; 23 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 41 mcg folate; 3 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 320 IU vitamin A; 13 mg vitamin C; 54 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 285 mg sodium; 567 mg potassium

Rachelle Deutz is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.

COMMENTS