Green beans are known to be an excellent source of antioxidant flavinoids like quercetin and kaempferol. Flavinoids are present many fruits, vegetables and flowers, and often lend them bright colors. Green beans, although rich in flavinoids, are so laden with chloryphyll pigment that they always appear green in color. All the same, they supply large amounts of these antioxidants, which research has indicated may help prevent breast, prostate, ovarian, colon, and lung cancers. Some reports have also linked these flavinoids with improvements in LDL or 'bad' cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and even respiratory conditions like asthma, hay fever, and allergies. Green beans are also a great source of lutein and beta-carotene, known to have a positive impact on occular health.
Green beans are also high in minerals, particular a little-known but particularly useful mineral, silicon. Silicon gets less press than its mineral counterparts calcium and magnesium, but plays a vital role in bone health and the formation of healthy, strong connective tissues like blood vessels, cartilage, and tendons. Silicon often appears in products intended to promote hair, skin, and nail strength. It's known to influence elasticity of the skin, and may play a role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, making it an effective anti-aging nutrient.
To preserve nutrients as much as possible when cooking green beans, it's a good idea to avoid over-cooking them. Steaming or light frying are usually the preferred methods. This recipe for Thai-style green beans preserves nutrients and enhances their natural flavor.
Green Beans a'la Thai
1/2 pound fresh green beans
Vegetable cooking spray
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, cliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
3 green onions, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
3 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Wash the beans, trim away the ends and remove any strings. Cut the beans in half and set aside.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Add the oil and place over high heat. When the skillet's hot, add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for about a minute. Reduce the heat to medium, add the beans, and cook them for about three minutes or until tender.
Combine the water and corn starch, stirring well to combine. Add the corn starch mixture, green onions, soy sauce, peanut butter and pepper to the beans and cook for two or three minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.
Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately.