Green Beans are a delicious vegetable that should be kept as a staple in our homes. They are easy to find at our supermarkets, relatively cheap, and super easy to cook. All awesome things the convenient cook is looking for.
But what if we don’t want to cook the green beans? Can’t we just eat them raw?
Don’t eat raw green beans. Avoid it for the health of your gut. If you’re looking to get the healthiest dose of green beans- cook them.
This might prove difficult if you’re out harvesting green beans in your own garden, but try to resist the urge.
What’s wrong with eating Raw Green Beans?
Your stomach does not like lectin and will react in angrily ways that result in you suffering some form of indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating.
An occasional bite or two shouldn’t upset your stomach with such extreme reactions, unless you have a sensitivity to lectins. We all know how hard it is to not taste the fruit (or vegetable) of your labors in your very own garden.
Additionally, if raw green beans are not rinsed thoroughly before consumption, then you could be ingesting bacteria from people, animals and insects. These vegetables go through many hands before they make it to the supermarket.
Its’ best to instill good practices with Raw Green Beans and only eat them after they’ve been cooked properly. Helpful tips are provided below on cooking green beans.
What are Lectins and why should I care?
Lectins are proteins found in nature and animals with natural anti-fungal properties. Specifically for green beans, lectins are found in the seeds and work harmoniously with the plant to act as a natural insecticide.
That’s right- insecticide. That’s why you don’t want to be eating raw green beans, your guts disapprove of having such chemicals inside them.
Now, Lectins in small quantities are relatively harmless. But when eaten in higher doses, one will experience the stomach symptoms mentioned above.
And since we can’t know the exact lectin count of a particular green bean, unless we don our white lab coats, dissect the vegetable, and put it under a microscope, it’s best to avoid the guilty pleasure.
Lectins are known as anti-nutrients because they like to fight against the good bacteria in your body. They’ll bind to cells and interfere with the work of your digestive enzymes.
We’re still not sure how Lectins are binding to gut cell walls, but research through animal testing has proven these proteins are acting in anti-nutrient matter.
Probiotics are known as the “good bacteria.” Something we want more of in our body. Lectins, due to their anti-fungal properties, will fight against our probiotics and cause gut health issues.
Lectins are found in other beans as well: kidney beans and soybeans. But the list of lectin based foods doesn’t stop with beans; they can be found in wheat, peanuts, tomatoes and potatoes.
Remember, we’re only worried about Lectins in high doses found in raw food. Introducing food with Lectins in it to high temperatures, (cooking) will remove those nasty anti-nutrients.
What are the Benefits of Eating Cooked Green Beans?
First off, we need to acknowledge that cooking raw green beans will result in some loss of water-soluble vitamins; such as folate and vitamin C. But the benefits of cooked vs. raw far outweigh the loss.
Obviously the biggest benefit of cooking green beans is killing off the nutrient-murdering Lectins. There’s no need to subject our guts to Lectins when we can simply cook them out.
Another benefit of cooked beans is taste. Throw in a little salt and you’ve got the perfect fit to your dinner.
Your digestive system also improves when you cook green beans. Enzymes needed to digest food work better with a healthy dose of probiotics, which function better when they don’t have to fight off Lectins.
Antioxidants are at the top of the “Cooked Green Beans” benefits list. We love antioxidants, they kill off the free radicals running amuck in our body making friends with cancer cells. That, in itself, makes cooked green beans a heart-healthy food.
How to Cook Green Beans Properly
Green beans will usually come in three different types: fresh, canned or frozen.
The top 3 methods for cooking green beans are: Steam, Boil, and Microwave.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging. It’s popular these days for frozen vegetables to come in steam friendly packaging. This comes in handy when you’re looking for convenience. However, they won’t lose any flavoring if you decide to boil them.
Steaming frozen beans in the microwave is done in one step: Cook in the microwave for the time denoted on the package. And don’t worry yourself over losing the goodness of this vegetable if you cook it in the microwave. You’re still getting plenty of vitamins and minerals from cooked green beans. More details provided below.
When boiling your beans it shouldn’t take longer than 4 minutes to fully cook 2 cups (1 can) at boiling point. Add salt and pepper as needed before consumption.
Steaming on the stove requires an extra step as you’ll need to place a steamer basket over your boiling pot. Place a lid over the steamer and check it after two minutes. Continue as needed until the beans have the perfect chewiness.
Microwaving is the most convenient. Canned beans can simply be dumped in a bowl and cooked for about 3 minutes depending on microwave power.
Frozen beans will need to be placed in water before microwaving. And if you’re steaming beans in the microwave be extra careful when handling the packaging. It’s hot!
Always, always rinse off your raw green beans before cooking them.
What are the benefits of eating green beans?
That’s right, your heart loves green vegetables because they have zero cholesterol and are naturally low in sodium. Remember, sodium is salt, so take it easy when you’re apply salt and pepper to your cooked green beans.
Green beans come with a couple grams of fiber too. Fiber also helps with lowering our cholesterol.
Some of our favorite vitamins like A and C come with green beans. They also come with a little protein to help support our muscle growth and bone support.
And let’s not forget all the minerals we get from this vegetable: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and potassium. Whew! That’s a lot of minerals.
Cooked green beans make a serious healthy punch. This is one vegetable we should not go without.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it bad to eat raw green beans?
Avoid it. It’s healthier to eat cooked green beans.
If you do eat raw green beans, keep the consumption in small numbers to avoid a high dose of Lectin proteins.
Do you wash beans before cooking?
If you’re cooking fresh green beans, yes, rinse them off. Do Not use soap to wash them.
Canned or packaged beans do not need to be rinsed prior to cooking.
Do green beans help you lose weight?
Green beans are packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein. While they may not help you lose weight. They certainly won’t help you gain weight. If you’re looking to manage the extra pounds, then you can’t go wrong with adding beans to your diet.
Doesn’t cooking vegetables remove some of the benefits of raw food?
While there are clear benefits to eating raw fruits and vegetables, this is not the case with green beans. Some enzymes will be removed during the cooking process, but it’s more important to significantly reduce the number of Lectins.
It’s best to eat cooked green beans. If eaten sparsely, raw green beans won’t have a enough toxicity rate to give you the tummy grumbles. But for your overall health, consume green beans only after they’ve been cooked properly.
Making cooked green beans a go-to vegetable for your dinner plates will assist in boosting your overall health.