Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nature's Food: Green Beans

Note: I would so love to summarize all the info I learn, but in fear of leaving out something important, I've decided to use the direct information provided by sources and provide their links in case you'd like to look up further research. This will be the case for all food/scientific posts to follow. 

One serving size of green beans is about 31 calories.
Green beans are in season from summer to early fall. (It's always best to buy fruits and vegetables that are grown seasonally.)

"Green beans contain excellent levels of vitamin A, and health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and ß-carotene in good amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes."

Carotenoids are organic pigments of color found in plants. Some of these pigments can be changed into Vitamin A, naturally by the body, and Vitamin A is known to carry antioxidant properties which aid in the prevention of cancer.

 "Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoids, including retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and retinyl esters. Vitamin A is involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. Vitamin A is critical for vision as an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors, and because it supports the normal differentiation and functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea. Vitamin A also supports cell growth and differentiation, playing a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs." 

"Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid in the beans, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light filtering functions. It is, therefore, green beans offer some protection in preventing age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly."

“Age-related macular degeneration is an eye condition that leads to the deterioration of the center of the retina, called the macula, leading to loss of central vision.”  

"They are very rich source of dietary fiber (9% per100g RDA) which acts as a bulk laxative that helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Adequate amount of fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing reabsorption of cholesterol-binding bile acids in the colon."

Green beans are known to be an anti-inflammatory. This is beneficial in prevention of type 2 diabetes. Because omega 3 fatty acid can be found in green beans, it is believed that they promote cardiovascular health. 

"In addition, beans contain healthy amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure."

I wasn't always a fan of green beans growing up, but now, they are a staple in my home. After doing research, they will remain a staple, and for good reason.

Happy eating!


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