This week we celebrate green beans as one of the World's Healthiest Foods. Green beans are one of only a few varieties of beans that can be eaten fresh. They are picked when they are still immature, and the inner bean is just beginning to form. This is when they are richest in nutrition and flavor.
Health Benefits of Green Beans
Green beans, while quite low in calories (just 43.75 calories in a whole cup), are loaded with enough nutrients to not only power up the Jolly Green Giant, but to put a big smile on his face. Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Plus green beans are very good source of vitamin A (notably through their concentration of carotenoids including beta-carotene), dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin.
Helping You Bone Up
The vitamin K provided by green beans-25% of the daily value in one cup-is important for maintaining strong bones. Vitamin K1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside of the bone. Therefore, without enough vitamin K1, osteocalcin levels are inadequate, and bone mineralization is impaired.
I LOVE GREEN BEANS!!!! LOVE THEM!!!!
They are a huge staple in my diet. I munch on them raw throughout the day. I take a baggie full of them where ever I go. And here are just a few ways I love to cook them:
ROASTED GREEN BEANS
Make a lot, they really are yummy.
-Green beans, rinsed and trimmed.
-Spray a large cooking sheet with cooking spray.
-Lay beans on in as much as a single layer as possible.
-Spray beans with some more cooking spray
-Sprinkle with a little sea salt
-Place in 400 degree oven for about 30-40 mins, total, turning every now and then, til they get almost brownish and wrinkly.
-About 1/2 way through, sprinkle on lots of fresh chopped garlic and finely diced onions, spray with more cooking spray. Roast further til done, turning every now and then.
-*Every now and then I will get lazy and 1/2 through I will just sprinkle with garlic and onion powder and forgo the fresh stuff
It may take a few times til you get it down "pat" and find the way that you like them best.
CARMALIZED GREEN BEANS
-In a large pot, put in a little olive oil and cooking spray, lightly saute' a whole head of garlic that's been peeled and crushed.
-Add tons of trimmed green beans, about 4 lbs and coat with the garlic and oil
-Add appox. 1/4 cup of orange juice and 1/4 cup of sodium reduced soy sauce
-Cook on a lowish flame, til liquid is almost completely gone, stirring occasionally. Green beans should be very limp.
SPANISH GREEN BEANS
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pounds fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch
3 cups canned diced tomatoes with their juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons pine nuts, optional
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat if garlic begins to brown. Add green beans, then continue to cook and stir until bright green but not quite tender, about 4 minutes.
2. Mix in tomatoes, lemon juice and pine nuts, and season with chives, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer gently uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf before serving.