When you were younger, green beans were probably one of those foods you pushed to the side of your plate, fed to the dog or simply refused to eat. They were mushy, slimy and just gross, right?
If you’re still on this green bean-hating boat as an adult, it might be time to reconsider your position, especially after I share a little secret with you…
Green beans can actually help you lose weight.
It sounds crazy, but it’s true: green beans have a number of features that can really and truly affect your waistline.
The best part? They’re super inexpensive, so you can load up without breaking the bank (like most health foods do!)
Green Beans and Weight Loss
The biggest way green beans can help you lose weight is with their extremely high fiber content. They’re so fibrous, in fact, that they provide a whopping 12 percent of your total daily fiber recommendation – all with just one cup of the stuff.
Fiber has a number of huge benefits for your waistline: First, it takes your body a while to digest, so it leaves you feeling fuller longer and it staves off those unwanted cravings. That means fewer calories consumed and an easier weight loss journey on the whole.
The fiber of green beans also helps manage your blood sugar levels, which helps you ward off those afternoon sugar cravings, and it promotes digestive health, removing toxins from your body, cleaning out your intestines and staving off bloating.
The complex carbs in green beans help with your blood sugar too, cutting down on the amount of insulin your pancreas produces. Because insulin is linked to fat storage, the reduction of this hormone can greatly improve your chances of weight loss.
To top it all off, green beans are also extremely low in calories, making them the perfect snack or side dish when you’re watching your weight. A full cup of green beans contains a mere 31 calories – less than 2 percent of your total daily calorie allotment. That’s pretty crazy!
Other Benefits of Green Beans
Green beans come with a whole slew of other health benefits, too. They’re extremely high in magnesium, which is crucial to kidney, heart and muscle health, and they have lots of vitamin A, fluoride and other nutrients and minerals.
Green beans can also help lower your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure and maybe, even prevent cancer. In fact, recent studies have actually established IP6, an extract from green beans, as an effective cancer-fighting agent.
If you’re concerned about wrinkles or aging, green beans can help you there as well. They’re known to contain resveratrol, a compound believed to prevent the DNA damage that leads to signs of aging. They also have lot of antioxidants, which fight free radicals that can hurt your skin, impair your brain and decreased the power of your immune system.
Another surprising benefit of green beans is that they can kill fungus and prevent infection. In particular, they’re very helpful at cutting down on gut fungus, which can weaken the immune system and cause inflammation.
Beans, Beans, Beans
It’s not just green beans that deliver weight loss and health benefits, but the entire bean family. From black beans and pinto beans to lentils and chickpeas, virtually any type of bean can help your waistline and improve your health.
The best part? They don’t even have to be fresh. Even frozen or canned beans can deliver great health benefits (though fresh, raw ones will always offer a bit more in the nutrients department.)
If you find fresh beans on sale, you can always buy them in bulk. Take out a serving or two for the week, and then freeze the rest right away. This will preserve the nutritional content and give you tons of beans for future meals and dishes.
My favorite ways to eat green beans are just sauted in a little olive oil, sea salt and mushrooms. Slivered almonds are great for adding a little extra crunch, but no matter what someone tells you, DON’T add bacon. That’s a sure-fire way to negate all the healthy benefits those beans are serving up.
Green beans also make a great snack. You can steam them, put them in a Tupperware container and bring them to work, or you can cut them into pieces, dry them and add them to your trail mix. They’re also good on salads or mixed into casseroles and stir fry dishes.
Get on the Bean Bandwagon
Are you looking to lose weight or slim down? Then try working some green beans into your weekly menus. They’re fast, easy and cheap, and they can do wonders for your waistline (and your health.
What are your favorite ways to eat green beans? Share your ideas with me in the comments.