Naturopathic Kitchen: Green Beans

Hands passing a tray of green beans across a table.

Green beans, also called string beans, are a healthy ingredient that often makes an appearance as a side dish on holiday tables. However, these mild-tasting beans deserve to be part of your diet all year round because of their high nutritional content and versatility. They can be eaten raw as a snack, steamed, roasted, chopped and added to soups and stews, stir-fries, pasta dishes, and more.

 

The Health Benefits of Green Beans

Good Source of Dietary Fiber

Green beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber, with a 100-gram serving containing three grams of fiber. 1 Soluble fiber is an important support for gut health because it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria that aid in digestion. 2 Getting enough dietary fiber can also help promote healthy weight loss and blood sugar management. 3 4 

High in Vitamins & Minerals

Green beans are an easy way to increase your vitamin and mineral intake. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, and also the minerals magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. 5 Vitamin A plays a key role in eye health, skin health, and reproductive health. 6 Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from harmful free radicals, supports immune function, and reduces inflammation. 7 8 9 

Green beans contain a number of minerals and are especially high in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is crucial for a number of bodily processes, including protein synthesis and energy production. 10. However, only 50% of Americans are consuming an adequate amount of magnesium. Adding more green beans to your diet is a great way to naturally increase your magnesium intake. 

Low in FODMAPs

FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, are a group of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. 11  When these substances reach the colon, they can be fermented by bacteria, leading to the production of gas and other byproducts. This fermentation process can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits in some individuals. 12 13 Green beans are a low-FODMAP food, making them suitable for those with IBS, other digestive disorders, and anyone else following a low-FODMAP diet.

 

Green Bean & Sesame Salad

Simple and so easy, this green bean salad is delicious served hot or cold. The key is the Japanese-inspired addition of toasted sesame seeds. Enhance the flavor with versatile Miso Tahini Dressing, which adds characteristic sweet/salty/sour notes from fermented soybeans. Lemon juice, garlic, and cilantro combine to make this dish fresh and lively.

Recipe courtesy of Bastyr University.

Ingredients

1 lb green beans

2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1 cup sesame tahini

1 cup water

1⁄4 cup lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

In a 3-quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Cook green beans until barely tender. Drain and chill in ice water. Drain and pat dry. In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, cook sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, make the Miso Tahini Dressing by mixing vinegar, tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro and ground pepper. Extra dressing can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Mix beans, sesame seeds and 1/2 cup dressing. 

 

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