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5 Vital Bone-Building Nutrients In This Delicious Green Legume

green-beans-bone-health

Did you know that there’s a delicious alkalizing legume that’s full of bone-building Foundation Supplements? And it’s versatility is amazing: it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from stir-fries to salads to soups.

Today, we’ll explore this nutrient-rich legume for the first time, and I’ve included a pH-balanced recipe that celebrates its flavor and bone-healthy goodness. Together with the rest of the ingredients, this brand-new recipe is an antioxidant powerhouse.

Green Beans Offer Bone-Building Nutrients

The humble green bean (also known as string bean and snap bean) is amazing because it’s a delicious source of Foundation Supplements that your bones crave. Although many of the Foundation Supplements found in green beans are in small amounts, several crucial nutrients are relatively plentiful. For example, green beans contain significant amounts of:

  • Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin whose role in bone health has been proven in various studies. In fact, not only does Vitamin K play a crucial role in bone remodeling; it is essential for fracture prevention. Vitamin K also precludes calcification of the arteries.1 In addition, Vitamin K is essential in the activation of an enzyme that restores bone proteins to their rightful place in the bone matrix, thereby strengthening the structure of your bones.
  • Manganese, which is involved in protein synthesis and the production of connective tissue in both cartilage and bone. Manganese also acts as an antioxidant (more on antioxidants below).
  • Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that has a dual function: it both stimulates osteoblasts (bone-building cells) and inhibits osteoclasts (cells that tear down bone).
  • Folate is a B vitamin that works synergistically with the other B-complex vitamins. It converts homocysteines – amino acids associated with inflammation and increased fracture risk2 – into other types of amino acids.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), which helps your body detoxify and also plays a role in cellular energy production.

A Plethora Of Antioxidants In Green Beans

According to a study, “Green beans can be considered as a potential source of antioxidants.”3 The reason these phytochemicals matter with regard to bone health is simple: antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cells, including bone cells. Oxidation is not deadly to a cell, but it does cause damage to it when free radicals rob it of an electron. Antioxidants step up and donate an electron without becoming damaged in the process.

In other words, the more antioxidants you take in, the fewer cell-damaging free radicals you have in your body, and by extension, in your bones.

Green beans are one of various food sources of antioxidants to help your body win the battle against oxidative damage. This, in conjunction with vital nutrients, is why the food you eat is so important in maintaining and building your bones.

A Surprising Source of Omega-3s

Surprisingly, green beans are actually a low-calorie, nutrient-dense source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which, along with their antioxidant content, may further explain their role in cardiovascular health.1 Most of the commonly used oils are alkalizing, but they consist of primarily Omega-6 fatty acids. You need a balance of 1 to 1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 in a bone-healthy diet, so it’s important to incorporate sources of Omega-3s into your meals and snacks.

This is where green beans can help. While the amount of Omega-3s they contain is relatively modest, they are nonetheless a good per-calorie source of these fatty acids. For example, it takes 4 calories’ worth of green beans to obtain 1 milligram of Omega-3s; but 4 calories’ worth of, say, walnuts (another rich source of omega-3s) yields only slightly more at 1.4 milligrams. So per calorie, green beans are right up there with walnuts as an excellent source of these fatty acids.

Green Beans Stave Off Inflammation

Research has shown that chronic inflammation is detrimental to bone health.4 Early research indicates that green beans decrease the action of inflammatory enzymes. They are also high in fiber, the aforementioned Omega-3s, and antioxidants – all of which reduce inflammation.

How To Choose, Store, And Prepare Green Beans

I always prefer to sort green beans out of bulk bins rather than buying them in plastic packages. Not only do you avoid long storage in plastic this way, but you also get to hand-pick the best beans. Here are some things to look for in choosing your beans:

  • A uniform, green color – no brown spots or blemishes
  • Smooth, consistent feel
  • Firm, crisp texture

Frozen green beans are the next best choice if you can’t get fresh. They retain most of their nutrients for 3 to 6 months while frozen.

Once you have your fresh green beans home, do not wash them. Instead, store them in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer and wash them right before you use them. If you’ve been able to get organic green beans, that’s even better.

Next, I’ll share with you a pH-balanced green bean recipe that you can easily add to your bone-building diet. It contains avocados and salmon, both of which are a rich source of Omega-3s. And if you use a dressing with olive oil, it will add another Omega-3 boost, and help with the uptake of fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin K.

Saint-Tropez Salad

2 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 ounces Romaine lettuce or your favorite mixed greens
  • 1 small salmon filet, cooked and seasoned with lemon juice to taste
  • 1 cup green beans, cooked (but preferably still crunchy), cut into 1-inch lengths 
  • 12 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 medium avocados, cut in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon green olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix well.
  2. Serve with your favorite dressing.

If you like this recipe, you’ll love Bone Appétit, where you’ll find over 200 bone-healthy delicious recipes.

Enjoy!

References

1 Adams, J. and Pepping, J. “Vitamin K in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and arterial calcification.” American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 2005 Aug 1; 62(15): 1574-81. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16030366
2 McLean, Jacques, Selhub, et al. “Homocysteine as a predictive factor for hip fracture in older persons.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2004.
3 Chaurasia, Savita and Saxena, Rimsi. “Biochemical Studies on Antioxidant Potential of Green Beans in Fresh and Processed Conditions.” American Journal of PharmTech Research. Web. http://www.ajptr.com/archive/volume-2/december-2012-issue-6/article-473.html
4 Paganelli, M., et al. “Inflammation is the main determinant of low bone density in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.” Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2007 April; 13(4): 416-23. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17206686

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24 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Andreas March 19, 2014, 7:35 am

    Hi Vivian! At present it’s unclear if K2 demands can be met by fermentation of K1. The studies that have used K to prevent fractures have all but one used menaquinone, and the study with phylloquinone, could not reach a conclusion of efficacy.

  2. Glum Martinez March 17, 2014, 10:11 pm

    There is a snack out that is like a freeze dried green bean. Does this have the same nutritional values?

  3. shula March 17, 2014, 8:30 pm

    Green Beans Sounds great!

  4. Ms. L. Carmel March 17, 2014, 6:45 pm

    Dear Vivian,

    The Saint-Tropez Salad Sounds Delicious! I Love Green Beans Anyway.
    Thank You Very Much For Sharing The Recipe With Us.

    Take Care, Stay Well, And Have A Healthy And Very Happy “Saint Patrick’s Day”!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 18, 2014, 7:44 am

      You are most welcome, Leslie! I hope you enjoy the salad. :)

  5. Debra March 17, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Sometimes it’s hard to eat both acidic and alkaline foods at every meal . As long as 80% of my diet is alkaline daily! is this ok

    • Zara April 10, 2014, 7:21 am

      I agree Debra, it can be difficult – does anyone have an answer to this question? Is it ok to eat 80% per day alkaline daily, or does it need to be 80/20 at each meal??

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA April 10, 2014, 9:03 am

        A rough goal of 80/20 per day is fine, Zara! Each meal does not have to be 80/20. :)

  6. Martha Goodman March 17, 2014, 1:31 pm

    Vivian, I think with further research you will see that the vitamin K contained in green beans is Vitamin K1. It is vitamin K2 which is used to “clear arteries” and activates enzymes to restore protein to the bones. I have written before to recommend this book to you: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue publixhed by John Wiley and Sons, Canada Ltd. 2012.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 17, 2014, 3:04 pm

      Hi Martha,
      Vitamin K1 is the form of this vitamin found in green vegetables. There are 2 types of K2: MK4 and MK7. Interestingly, your body can convert K1 into the MK4 type of K2! So, if you’re getting plenty of K1, you’re likely getting plenty of K2 as well. :)

      You might like to read what the Linus Pauling institute has to say about this, including multiple meta-analysis as it relates to bone health and osteoporosis:

      http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminK/

  7. Sylvia March 17, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Vivian, do you put your beans in anything before putting in your crisper drawer? I use the green bags that are designed for storage of veggies, but they are plastic. Are they OK?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 17, 2014, 3:05 pm

      I like to use BPA-free plastic containers or glass. :)

  8. Shirley March 17, 2014, 10:58 am

    A printing hint for Gaill. You can Hi-light the linnes you waant to print, then controlP click on Selection, then Go and yu should get a print out of what you Hi-lighted.
    Today I did it from the top by the little picture and got the whole article with the recipe on two pages. I avoided the top banner to save on color ink.
    Shirley

  9. Ruth Janet Taylor March 17, 2014, 10:57 am

    Good Morning Vivian,
    I am a seventy four (plus) year old female who is fortunately very healthy and active.
    I have been an active participant in the Save Our Bones Community since its inception. On your advice I ordered True Osteo and I have been taking it for about a year now. Of course, I won’t know it’s effect as I don’t plan to have or believe in the bone density test. My question is the following: Did I miss information about the importance of collagen in building the inner bone. It seems that research is suggesting that we don’t need more calcium, but that we do need something to help us build more collagen. I am considering a collagen supplement. Your research and comments will be appreciated. Thank You.

  10. Crete Sham March 17, 2014, 10:17 am

    Hi Vivian, I’ve always loved green beans, and salmon, and avocado pears, but most unfortunately all these good things are contra indicated for people who are on warfarin blood thinners (me!) due to their high vitamin K content. I can only have them in very small amounts. Isn’t that sad? Does it make sense to you?
    Warmest regards
    Crete

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 17, 2014, 3:07 pm

      No worries, Crete! Vitamin K is important, but it is far from the only nutrient that can help get rid of osteoporosis. :) The Save Our Bones Program has many other natural solutions!

      And if your health care provider advises you to stay away from green beans or any other food due to a specific health condition, then it’s a good idea to listen to him or her. :)

  11. gail glasgow March 17, 2014, 9:49 am

    I would love to print this recipe, but do not know the page number.
    Would it be possible for you to indicate the number of the page in future recipes?
    Thank you.
    Gail

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 17, 2014, 9:53 am

      Gail, this recipe is not in Bone Appetit. :) Feel free to print the recipe directly from the site, though!

  12. marie March 17, 2014, 8:14 am

    That recipe looks very good. I will definetely try it!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 17, 2014, 9:08 am

      I hope you enjoy it, Marie!

  13. Maureen grant March 17, 2014, 5:26 am

    Are Lima beans as good as Green Beans for alkalizing?

  14. Marianne March 17, 2014, 3:46 am

    For the benefit of UK readers, please can you clarify what variety of green beans you are referring to? Are they what we call runner beans, Helda (flat) beans, round beans, or fine beans?

    • Gil March 17, 2014, 4:23 am

      Look at the picture. They are Green Beans or Haricot Vert

      • Marianne March 17, 2014, 5:05 am

        Thanks Gill. Didn’t spot the picture – too early in the morning.

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