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.
- 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
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix well.
- 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.
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