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Green Beans, Healthy and Digestive


Green beans are vegetables that we can always find in the market, although their optimal moment is from April to September. There are many varieties and different hypotheses about their place of origin, but all of them have in […]

Green beans are vegetables that we can always find in the market, although their optimum time is from April to September . There are many varieties and different hypotheses about their place of origin, but they all have in common their low caloric content, they are more digestive than other vegetables due to their lower fiber content, which does not mean that it is low, and they contain not inconsiderable amounts of various vitamins and minerals . As if that were not enough, they are very versatile in the kitchen, used cold, hot, with other vegetables, with meat, with fish, etc.

Light, vitamin, laxative, diuretic and digestive

Allied in diets to lose weight , they are a food rich in water, vitamins and minerals but with few macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and therefore are low in calories. They contain less than 30 calories per 100 g raw. 90% is water, 3-4% are carbohydrates, mainly concentrated in the form of starch inside the seeds, 2-2.5% correspond to proteins and contain less than 0.5% lipids ( fats). Green beans also contain a good proportion of vitamins and minerals, among which we can highlight potassium and calciumand, to a lesser extent, iodine, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and chromium. Regarding vitamins, we find in beans an interesting source of vitamin C, folates, provitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamins B2 and B6 in smaller quantities.

They can be attributed a purifying role since their fiber content is considerable, although it is lower than that of other vegetables. The fiber exerts a mechanical role on the intestinal transit favoring its fluidity. As they have less fiber than other vegetables, we can consider them more digestive, specifically because they cause less flatulence than other foods of this same family.

On the other hand, they facilitate the elimination of liquids due to their richness in potassium and their low sodium content. Therefore, they are favorable in people with hypertension , hyperuricemia and gout , kidney stones and fluid retention, and oliguria (scanty urine).

How to take them

Green beans provide us with an alternative to the range of green leafy vegetables, and offer us the possibility of adding them to a multitude of dishes, both cold and hot : from the most classic and light form, as part of a boil with other vegetables or with potatoes, even in much more elaborate and also more caloric cooking, such as lasagna. It should be noted that the typical boiling would be advisable to replace it with steam cooking to minimize vitamin losses.

In addition, green beans are part of very popular dishes such as paella or Russian salad and are common in sautéed with other vegetables, with ham … And they can also be consumed cold in salads, cut, in strips or whole if they are finite. What we should not do is consume them raw as they are indigestible and also contain a toxic substance called phaseolin that is eliminated during cooking.


Green beans were introduced to Europe as a result of the colonization of America, although they were not consumed as a vegetable until the 19th century. Although in Spain it was introduced through America, there is still doubt about whether its origin must be located in America (Mexico and Peru), or Asia (India and China).

In Spain they were quickly accepted and today there are more than one hundred varieties of subspecies that we group into: thick and flat pod beans, and narrower and rounded dwarf beans.

Who are they suitable for and who are not?

Green beans are vegetables that are generally suitable for everyone and have many virtues to highlight. Its properties can be especially interesting in:

  • People who want to lose weight. Their caloric content is very low and they can help us satisfy ourselves with a very low calorie intake if we prepare them boiled, steamed, grilled, sautéed, etc.
  • To enhance intestinal transit . Due to their contribution in soluble fiber, they exert a dragging role at the intestinal level, favoring evacuation and helping to combat constipation.
  • People with difficulty digesting other more flatulent vegetables. Although green beans contain a not inconsiderable amount of fiber, their digestibility is higher than that of other vegetables such as the cabbage family, aubergine, artichoke, etc. that tend to be more flatulent.
  • As a preventive of different pathologies including cardiovascular ones. Sometimes the production of free radicals increases, for example with stress, intense physical exercise, infections, environmental pollution, smoking, etc. This increases the chances of suffering from diseases, especially at the cardiovascular level. In all these cases, green beans can benefit us due to their antioxidant role thanks to beta-carotenes, vitamin C and different types of phenolic compounds.
  • Pregnant women and children. In these cases, the needs for folates are increased, nutrients of which green beans can provide us with good amounts. Therefore, in both cases it is interesting that the young beans are part of the base of the diet.
  • Arterial hypertension. Beans, like many vegetables, are rich in potassium and poor in sodium, which makes them allies of people with high blood pressure.
  • To increase diuresis and with it waste products. This can be of interest in people with hyperuricemia or gout, kidney stones, and fluid retention.
  • In cases of increased need for potassium. Some situations such as the ingestion of diuretics and repeated vomiting can cause greater losses of potassium. To recover them, diets rich in fruits and vegetables such as green beans are interesting.

It is not convenient in case:

  • Kidney failure and / or potassium-controlled diets. Beans are rich in potassium and therefore their consumption should be controlled if we are to count their contribution from the diet, something that happens mainly in kidney diseases.

Buying and conservation advice

When we buy beans we must pay attention to their freshness point, discarding the too hard and fibrous as well as the very soft and excessively flexible. The optimum point is when the sheath breaks when trying to join its two ends and we can even know that they are very fresh when they release water when they break. We must choose them with a bright and bright color without discoloration or irregular shapes. Other signs of quality and that they are tender are the barely marked seeds and the pods not very long, less than about 15 cm.

To preserve them we can do it for a few days in the refrigerator , inside a bag or container with some respiration and in the lower part of the refrigerator. If we have to keep them longer, we can wash them, blanch them for 2 or 3 minutes, cut them and freeze them. If we want to scald them already cut, the cut must be transverse, not longitudinal, since if we did so we would lose part of the seeds.

In addition, we find green beans that are commercialized canned , such as those offered in glass jars already boiled, or even in precooked such as sauteed, stews and salads, prepared with rice, etc. In these cases we must pay close attention to the labeling, selecting those products with less added fats, rich in vegetables and avoiding fats of unspecified origin.

  • Season: April to September.
  • Benefits: light, vitamin, cleansing and digestive.
  • Ideal for: weight control diets, digestive problems, hypertension, pregnancy …

Green beans are very digestive but we should not consume them raw because of their potential toxicity if we do not cook them.


Warm Potato, Green Bean and Ham Salad with Yogurt Cream


  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Cured ham
  • Oak leaf lettuce
  • Yoghurt
  • Lemon
  • Dill
  • Oil and salt


Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices. Clean the beans (it would be optimal to use dwarf green beans and only cut the tips). Steam the potatoes and beans, either separately, or in a way that is easy to separate later. Let both foods cool slightly while we prepare the rest.

Clean and drain the lettuce, cut it into thin strips and reserve. Chop the ham into shavings and reserve. Prepare the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt with a dash of lemon, oil and salt to taste.

Serve by placing the potato slices as the base of the plate, spread the lettuce on top of them, place the beans on top (if they are too large we can chop them or cut them into strips) and, immediately after, we place the ham shavings, reserving a few to decorate. Sprinkle everything with a moderate amount of yogurt sauce a


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