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Monday,October 15,2018 14:40 PM

French beans: Iron at low cost

By Umar Nsubuga

Added 27th March 2018 06:37 PM

And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorous, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin.

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And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorous, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin.

PIC: French bean have numerous health benefits. (Credit: Umar Nsubuga)

HEALTH


Green beans, commonly referred to as French beans, are one legume you should never miss in your diet. While relatively easy on the pocket, they are such a health powerhouse, loaded with sufficient nutrients, guaranteed to impact almost every facet of the human body.

They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Besides, green beans are a source of vitamin A, dietary fibre, potassium, folate and iron.

And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorous, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin.

Health benefits
 
Bone strength

The vitamin K present in green beans is important for maintaining strong bones; according to Sharon Naluwende, a nutritionist at Mulago Hospital.

In addition, friendly bacteria in our intestines convert K1 into K2, which activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bones.

Offer cardiovascular protection
Beta-carotene and vitamin C contained in French beans are important antioxidants that work to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body, Naluwende says.

This water-and fat-soluble antioxidant team helps to prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidised to stick on vein walls.

“Fibre, which is also found in green beans, lowers cholesterol levels. A cup of green beans supplies fibre, potassium, magnesium and folate. What this all adds up to is a greatly reduced risk of atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke,” explains Naluwende.

Farmers harvesting French beans. (Credit: Umar Nsubuga)


Promotes colon health

Folate from green beans helps to prevent DNA damage and mutations in colon cells, even when they are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. People who eat foods high in Vitamin C, beta-carotene and folate are at a much lower risk of getting colon cancer than those who do not. Green beans’ fibre can help prevent colon cancer as well.

Iron for energy

“Green beans are a good source of iron, an important mineral for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency,” Naluwende reveals.
 
Boosting iron stores with green beans is a good idea, especially because in comparison to red meat, a well-known source of iron, green beans provide iron for a lot less calories and are fat-free.
 
Antioxidant protection

According to whfoods.com, iron is essential part of hemoglobin, a molecule used in energy production since it is responsible for transporting and releasing oxygen throughout the body.

But hemoglobin synthesis also relies on copper. Without copper, iron cannot be properly utilised in red blood cells. Fortunately, both minerals are supplied in green beans.

How to select and store

Purchase smooth beans with a vibrant green colour and that are free from brown spots or bruises. They should have a firm texture and ‘snap’ when broken. Store unwashed fresh beans pods in a refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should last for about seven days.

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