Green Beans Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Green Beans

Green beans annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Green beans, also called string beans, french beans, or snap beans, are an inexpensive, versatile, easy-to-find source of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and micronutrients. Nutrition facts for green beans will vary slightly based on how they are prepared or processed. But in general, the legume is a healthy addition to your diet.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (100g) of cooked green beans cut in 1/2" pieces, no salt or fat added.

  • Calories: 31
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 2g

Carbs in Green Beans

Green beans are a good source of complex carbohydrates. If you consume one cup of fresh or frozen, cooked green beans you'll get 7 grams of carbohydrate in the form of starch and fiber.

There are 4 grams of starch in a single serving of green beans. Starch provides the body with quick energy. In addition, you'll benefit from almost 3 grams of fiber when you consume a serving of green beans. Fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar, boost satiety, and improve digestive health. 

Green beans have a glycemic index (GI) of about 32. As a reference, foods with a GI of 55 or below are considered low glycemic foods. The glycemic load of green beans is as low as 1, according to one source. Glycemic load takes into account the serving size of a given food or beverage to estimate the effect of a food on your blood sugar. It is considered to be more helpful than just using glycemic index for people who are choosing foods based on their effects on blood glucose.

Fats in Green Beans

There is almost no fat in green beans, which makes them a naturally fat-free food. While some nutrition experts caution against the use of fat-free foods for weight loss or healthy weight maintenance, they generally refer to foods that have had fat removed in processing. Foods like green beans that naturally provide good nutrition with no fat are a smart addition to any diet.

Keep in mind, however, that the way you prepare your green beans may impact the fat content. Many people steam green beans and top with butter, or saute green beans in olive oil. Both cooking methods add fat to the food. And, of course, green bean casserole is a popular dish. Green bean casserole recipes can contain from 6 to 12 grams of fat or more per serving.

Protein in Green Beans

Each one-cup serving of green beans (fresh, frozen, or canned) provides almost 2 grams of protein.

Micronutrients in Green Beans

Green beans provide the body with several key nutrients. One serving provides 22 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting functions in the body.

Green beans also provide Vitamin C. You'll benefit from 16 percent of your total recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

You'll get 10 percent of your daily recommended intake of folate if you consume a one-cup of green beans and you follow a 2000-calorie per day diet. Folate (also called Vitamin B12) helps boost red blood cell production and provides other health benefits. You'll also benefit from about 9 percent of your daily target of riboflavin (also known as Vitamin B2), according to the same source.

You'll get 8 percent of your recommended daily intake of thiamin (Vitamin B1), 8 percent of your recommended intake of copper, 5 percent of your recommended intake of magnesium, and 5 percent of your daily intake of Vitamin A.

Health Benefits

Green beans can be a healthy addition to your diet because they are a low-calorie, low-fat source of energy. Nutrient-dense foods like green beans help you to reach or maintain a healthy weight. But green beans provide other health benefits as well.

The Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) in green beans provides several benefits. The vitamin acts as an anti-oxidant to protect cells in your body from free-radical damage. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production, improves immune function and helps your body to absorb iron—an important mineral needed for a healthy body.

The Vitamin K in green beans is essential for blood clotting functions in your body and is especially important for people who take blood thinners. Vitamin K also boosts bone health. A Vitamin K deficiency may put you at greater risk for osteoporosis.

Lastly, when you include more plant-based foods in your diet—like green beans— you reduce your risk for heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. You may also reduce your need for certain medications, according to published research.

Common Questions

How do I select the best green beans?

In the produce section of the grocery store, you'll find fresh, raw green beans that are pre-packaged in bags. Sometimes these bags are ready to toss into the microwave with no pre-rinsing or trimming. These bags are a convenient way to add green beans to a family meal with less fuss.

If you buy green beans in bulk form, you can select your own beans. Look for bright green beans, that have a crisp texture and few (or no) blemishes.

If you choose frozen or canned green beans check the ingredients list below the Nutrition Facts label on the package. Choose the beans with fewer added ingredients which may include preservatives such as sodium.

How should I store green beans and how long do they last?

Store green beans in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or resealable container. Do not wash or trim green beans until you are ready to use them because cutting the beans can speed spoilage. Stored properly, beans can last 5-7 days. 

Can you freeze green beans?

Yes, green beans can be frozen. Most experts recommend cooking the beans before freezing them. Steam or boil the beans first, and blot dry. Then place in an airtight plastic bag and place in the freezer. Stored properly, frozen green beans can last three to six months.

Are canned green beans as healthy as fresh or frozen green beans?

Canned green beans may be as healthy as raw beans, but it depends on the brand that you buy. Many popular manufacturers add sodium to canned beans. A single serving may provide 800 milligrams of sodium. If you are looking for the healthiest choice, choose canned beans that say "No Salt Added" on the label.

Also, keep in mind that many people who enjoy green beans don't like the softer texture of the canned variety. Canned green beans are also less likely to have the bright green color that fresh green beans are known for.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

The easiest way to prepare green beans is to boil or steam them. To do so, rinse the beans well and trim the ends. Either toss the beans in a pot of boiling, salted water or add them to a steamer. Cook the beans for about five minutes or until they turn bright green. Remove from heat and add lemon, olive oil, or salt to taste.

You can also add green beans to a favorite recipe. The most popular dish is green bean casserole. Traditional green bean casserole recipes use canned cream of mushroom soup and fried onion rings. This dish as prepared provides quite a bit of fat and calories. But you can make a healthier version of green been casserole.

You can also toss green beans into a salad, a simple pasta or rice dish, or add them to a creative recipe.

Allergies and Interactions

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies to legumes are fairly rare and are most commonly attributed to peas or lentils, rather than green beans. However, case studies do exist demonstrating an allergic reaction to raw green beans.

Symptoms of a legume (including green bean) allergy may include swelling in the face, difficulty breathing, severe asthma, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, according to the Anaphylaxis Campaign, an allergy support network based in England. Recently a major allergen in green bean has been identified.

If you suspect you have an allergy to legumes or lentils, speak with your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis.

Antinutrients in Green Beans

Green beans and other legumes have caused concern in some circles because they contain compounds called antinutrients or antinutritional compounds. These plant compounds bind with vitamins and minerals in the body and may reduce your ability to absorb nutrients.

However, for most people, antinutrients should not cause concern because we don't consume antinutrient foods (like green beans) in large enough quantities for the compounds to cause harm. Additionally, rinsing or soaking green beans in water and heating the beans will reduce the antinutrient effects of the food.

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Article Sources

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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