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String beans, also called green beans or snap beans, count toward your weekly vegetable intake. Women should try to consume 4 cups of veggies weekly, while men should get 5 cups. In addition to boosting your vegetable intake, string beans are low in calories, containing just 31 calories per cup. They contain a range of nutrients and provide a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals.
String beans help you get enough vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C benefits several tissues throughout your body because it helps you make collagen. Collagen fibers hold your tissues together, keeping your skin strong and intact, your bones resistant to breaks, and your tendons and ligaments able to keep your muscles and joints in place. Vitamin C also helps boost your immune system to protect you from infection. A cup of string beans provides 12.2 milligrams of ascorbic acid, about 16 percent of the recommended daily intake for women or 14 percent of the RDA for men, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
String beans also benefit your health by providing a source of vitamin K. You need vitamin K to form blood clots, which prevent blood loss after an injury. Making sure you get enough vitamin K protects you from abnormal or excessive bleeding, while a shortage of vitamin K can cause nosebleeds and bruising. Each cup of string beans contains 14.4 micrograms of vitamin K — 16 percent of the daily vitamin K requirements for women or 12 percent for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Add string beans to your diet to boost your intake of iron, an essential mineral. Your cardiovascular system needs iron to stay healthy, since the mineral makes up a part of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through your bloodstream. You also need iron to support your metabolism — it helps you produce the energy your cells need to function properly. Your daily iron requirements depend on your sex: Men need 8 milligrams, while women need 18 milligrams, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Eating a cup of string beans boosts your intake by 1.03 milligrams.
Eating More String Beans
You can enjoy string beans either raw or cooked. Add raw string beans to salads, wraps or sandwiches, or eat the beans as a snack along with a healthy dip, such as hummus. Try steaming string beans, then season with fresh mint and a lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette. The vitamin C in the lemon juice will help you absorb the beans’ iron. For a healthy Asian-inspired dish, lightly coat string beans with sesame oil, roast them and then serve the beans sprinkled with sesame seeds.
By Louise Tremblay, Demand Media