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Green Beans are also called snap beans or string beans. It is the main ingredient for stews, casseroles and stir-fry dishes. Green beans are medium length, green pods containing green seeds. They are nutritionally very rich and some of its benefits are discussed below.
Green beans contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which can block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines generated when grilling meats at a high temperature. Thus people who like grilled foods charred should to pair them with green vegetables to decrease the risk.
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Women who are planning to conceive for better chances should consume more iron from plant sources such as spinach, beans, pumpkin and green beans, as it promotes fertility. Adequate folate intake is also necessary for pregnant women in order to protect their infants against neural tube defects. One cup of green beans provides approximately 10% of daily folic acid needs and 6% of iron.
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Meeting your daily folate needs also helps with fighting depression. Adequate folate consumption prevents excess of homocysteine in the body, which prevents blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sense of well being, sleep and even appetite.
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Adequate vitamin K consumption improves bone health by stimulating of bone matrix proteins, improving calcium absorption and reducing loss through urinary excretion of calcium. One cup of green beans provides 14.4 micrograms of vitamin K (almost 20% of daily need) as well as 4% of calcium. Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture.
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Green beans are a good source of absorbable silicon. This mineral along with calcium and magnesium are very important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissues of the body. It also helps in several metabolic functions of the body. 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.
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In addition to conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene, green beans contain important amounts of the antioxidant mineral manganese. Green beans contain a wide variety of carotenoids (including lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin) and flavonoids (including quercetin, kaemferol, catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins) all these have antioxidant properties. In addition, the overall antioxidant capacity of green beans has greater overall antioxidant capacity than similar foods in the pea and bean families according to research.
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The antioxidant support provided by green beans gives us direct cardiovascular benefits by preventing oxidation of molecules. Interestingly, the green bean pod (the main portion of the green beans that provides the covering for the beans inside) provides more cardio benefits than the young, immature beans that are found inside. It is the omega-3 fatty acid of content of green beans can also make an important contribution to their cardiovascular benefits. There is a relatively small amount of the omega-3 fatty acid in form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in green beans, this amount can still be very important and is actually fairly large in comparison to the amount of calories in green beans. You get 1 milligram of ALA for every 4 calories of green beans that you eat.
The strong carotenoid and flavonoid content of green beans has unique anti-inflammatory benefits. Green beans decreases the activity of certain inflammation-related enzymes such as lipoxygenases (LOX) and cyclooxygenases (COX). And because type 2 diabetes is a health problem which has basic component of chronic, unwanted inflammation, where green beans have anti-inflammatory effect in type 2 diabetes, thereby preventing it.
Green beans have host of properties which benefit the health so surely enjoy a generous helping of this wonderful green legume.
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