Nancy's Nutrition Corner

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food," Hippocrates.

Green Beans

When I was younger, I didn't give much thought to my dietary choices. These days, I like to think about what I am eating--I like to ponder exactly what I am getting out of the things I put in my mouth. This doesn't mean I don't occasionally enjoy a greasy slice of pizza—but that when I do eat vitamin rich foods--it actually excites me to imagine all those vitamins and phyto-nutrients going to work for me in my body. I think we often forget that vitamins are essential nutrients that are needed for physiological processes—and for the most part they cannot be synthesized by our bodies. And so, it is a good idea to add dark green veggies like green beans to our diets as they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K1—providing 25% of the daily value in just 1 cup. Vitamin K1 is utilized in the formation of bone and in blood clotting. Green beans are also an excellent source of the powerful antioxidants, Vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, and is required for normal functioning of the immune system. Vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Green beans are a good source of the B Vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin—all of which play a large role in energy production.

Magnesium and Potassium
Green beans are very good source of magnesium and potassium, which are involved in muscle contraction and the conduction of nerve impulses.

Folate
As a very good source of folate, green beans are “heart healthy.” Folate rich foods have been found to lower harmful homocysteine levels. Diminished folate status has also been associated with several types of cancers, birth defects and anemia.

Minerals
Green beans are a very good source of the trace minerals copper, iron and manganese; copper is necessary for collagen and elastin production, iron is an essential part of red blood cells, and manganese is involved in the bodies natural free radical defense mechanisms.

So Don't Forget to Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!
The average adult should consume 2 fruits and 5 vegetables daily according to the USDA, the American Heart Association, and the National Cancer Institute. At this point, fewer than one-third of adults in the U.S. meet this goal. It's mid-summer -- the fruits and vegetables don't get any better than this, so join me at the salad bar!

Nancy Silva, ND is a licensed naturopath with a penchant for good food. Her monthly column discusses the nutritional aspects of some of the foods available through LocalHarvest. You can contact Nancy from her listing on our website.


Back to the July 2008 Newsletter