Get ready for green bean season!! June to September brings us the season for the wonderful green bean – a modest looking vegetable that has a bounty of phytonutrients giving wonderful health benefits.
Why we love them
Green beans belong to the legume family and are a rich source of nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, and folate, which support carbohydrate-related metabolism. They also contain vitamins A, C, and carotenoids that act as antioxidants, and vitamin K, for bone health. They are an excellent source of iron, which we need for brain function, energy production and immunity, and they also provide us with protein and fiber.
Studies have shown that the combination of nutrients in green beans help lower our risk of chronic diseases like, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and metabolic syndrome.
Green beans get their “greenness”, as with all green veggies, from chlorophyll. We love this plant pigment because it has been extensively studied for its health benefits and among many other things, has the potential to increase red blood cells, may be cancer protective, reduces inflammation and has antioxidant properties.
How to eat them
Chlorophyll and nutrients are damaged by heat, but equally, cooking will reduce the phytic acid and lectin levels, which can interfere with nutrient absorption. So the best way to eat them is lightly steaming to retain their crunch and bright green color. Eat with an oil to ensure the best absorption.
Do green beans contain the same plant chemicals as other legumes?
Phytic acid, lectins and other plant chemicals that can cause digestive upset and are high in many legumes, but low in green beans. Galactans, one form of FODMAP that are usually found in legumes are very low in green beans and generally safe to eat, on a low FODMAPs diet.
If possible, purchase green beans loose so that you can choose beans that have a vibrant green color, a firm texture and “snap” when broken.
Almonds are not a true nut but come from inside the seed of a stone fruit.
Why we love them
One-quarter cup of whole raw almonds contains a generous 7.6g of protein and 4.5g of fiber. They are also a great source of antioxidants such as vitamin E, as well as B2, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, copper and calcium.
Almond consumption supports blood glucose control and can improve the lipid profile. Because they are low in carbs, and high in fiber and protein, they have a high satiety level, making them a great addition to any weight management protocol.
How to eat your almonds
When buying almonds, look for raw organic nuts without added seasonings, additives, or processing. Choose whole, unbroken nuts with smooth, tight skin and avoid nuts that are discolored, broken or smell rancid.
In addition to their high nutrient value, almonds also contain phytic acid, a naturally occurring plant chemical that when consumed can interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients. In order to lower the phytic acid content of almonds, it is advisable to soak them in water for 12-18 hours followed by drying them in a warm oven or dehydrator. You may also look for almonds that have been pre “activated”, “sprouted” or “soaked.”
Enjoy your almonds, but choose them well, prepare them well and eat in moderation. While they are a valuable source of nutrients, when consuming as a dairy alternative, in snack bars and as a grain alternative, it is easy to over consume a good thing. Aim for a 1/2 handful a day.
Avocado oil is the oil dressed from the avocado fruit.
Why we love it
Avocado is rich in fatty acids, the most abundant of which is oleic acid. A study found that while avocado consumption didn’t affect LDL (“bad” cholesterol), total cholesterol and triglycerides, it did increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. It has been reported that avocado oil can reduce inflammation and protect against free radical damage. It is also a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that supports eye health and may lower the risk of age-related eye diseases.
How to eat it
When added to other vegetables, avocado oil can aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Avocado oil can be enjoyed cold in a smoothie, added to soup, or drizzled over salad and steamed vegetables, but it is also heat stable and can be used for cooking.
Choose non-GMO, extra virgin, unrefined and cold-pressed oil and keep in a cool dark place with the lid on.