Green Beans Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Green beans annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Green beans are an inexpensive, versatile, easy-to-find source of healthy carbohydrates, protein, fiber and micronutrients (you can even grow them yourself). Nutrition varies based on how they are prepared or processed. But in general, this legume is a healthy addition to your diet: It's a green vegetable with very little fat, cholesterol, sodium, or sugar.

If your favorite green bean recipe is the traditional casserole, try a healthier version. Or give steamed green beans another try: Don't overcook, and season with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Green Bean Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (100g) of raw green beans cut in pieces.

  • Calories: 31
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sugars: 3.3g
  • Protein: 1.8g

Carbs

Green beans are a good source of complex carbohydrates. There are 4 grams of starch in a 1-cup 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. The glycemic load of green beans is as low as 1. 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.

Fat

There is almost no fat in green beans, which makes them a naturally fat-free food. Keep in mind, however, that the way you prepare green beans affects the fat content. Many people steam green beans and top with butter, or sauté them in olive oil. Both cooking methods add fat to the food. Green bean casserole recipes can contain from 6 to 12 grams of fat or more per serving.

Protein

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

Vitamins and Minerals

Green beans provide the body with several key nutrients, such as vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting functions. Green beans provide 16% of your total recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 5% of your daily intake of vitamin A.

Green beans are a good source of the B vitamins folate, riboflavin, and thiamin, as well as the minerals copper and magnesium.

Health Benefits

Green beans are a healthy food for almost any eating plan because they are a low-calorie, low-fat source of energy. They are also nutrient-dense, since they provide lots of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants without many calories.

Support Brain Function

The B vitamins found in green beans can help lower levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine can impair cognitive function.

Repair Cell Damage

The vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) in green beans provides several benefits. The vitamin acts as an antioxidant 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.

Keep Bones Strong

Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, and it also boosts bone health. A vitamin K deficiency may put you at greater risk for osteoporosis. You can meet more than 20% of your daily vitamin K needs with a serving of green beans.

Low in FODMAPs

Fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, or FODMAPs, are a type of carbohydrate found in many foods. A diet low in FODMAPs can help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease; green beans are permitted on this diet.

Allergies

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies to legumes are fairly rare and are most common with peas or lentils, rather than green beans. However, a few cases of green bean allergy have been reported in the medical literature, and at least one of the allergenic proteins in green bean has been identified.

Symptoms of a food allergy may include itching or swelling in the face, difficulty breathing, asthma, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. If you suspect you have an allergy to green beans or another food, speak with your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis.

Adverse Effects

Because green beans contain vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting, people who take certain blood thinners need to be cautious about consuming too many, or too few, green beans. Your intake of dietary vitamin K needs to remain consistent. Talk with your doctor about your diet, especially your green vegetable consumption, if you are on a blood thinner.

Green beans and other legumes contain compounds called antinutrients. These plant compounds bind with vitamins and minerals in the body and may reduce your ability to absorb nutrients. However, most people 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 them reduces the antinutrient effect.

Varieties

Green beans go by many different names, like string beans, French beans, or snap beans. They even come in colors other than green (like purple or yellow). In terms of taste, nutrition, and use in various recipes, all these beans are quite similar.

Canned green beans can be as healthy as raw beans, but check the label; many manufacturers add sodium. A 1-cup serving of canned beans may contain over 500 milligrams of sodium. (You can reduce the sodium you consume by rinsing the beans before you eat them.)

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. Frozen versions retain the color and nutrients of fresh beans.

When They're Best

Green beans are a summer crop, but available fresh, frozen, or canned all year round. If you buy fresh green beans, look for bright green beans that have a crisp texture and few (or no) blemishes.

Storage and Food Safety

Store green beans in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or resealable container for up to a week. Do not wash or trim until you are ready to use them because cutting the beans can speed spoilage.

If you want to freeze green beans, cook them first. Steam or boil, then blot dry. Place in an airtight plastic bag. Stored properly, frozen green beans can last 3 to 6 months.

How to Prepare

The easiest way to prepare green beans is to boil or steam them. To do so, rinse the beans well and trim the ends. Toss in a pot of boiling, salted water or add to a steamer. Cook 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, or toss into a salad, pasta, or stir fry.

Recipes

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beans, snap, green, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Defeat Diabetes Foundation. Green beans.

  3. University of Wisconsin Integrative Health. Managing dietary carbohydrates for better health. Updated October 2018.

  4. Ford AH, Flicker L, Singh U, Hirani V, Almeida OP. Homocysteine, depression and cognitive function in older adults. J Affect Disord. 2013;151(2):646-51. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.07.012

  5. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C fact sheet for health professionals. Updated February 27, 2020.

  6. Fusaro M, Mereu MC, Aghi A, Iervasi G, Gallieni M. Vitamin K and bone. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2017;14(2):200-206. doi:10.11138/ccmbm/2017.14.1.200

  7. Zoccatelli G, Pokoj S, Foetisch K et al. Identification and characterization of the major allergen of green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) as a non-specific lipid transfer protein (Pha v 3). Mol Immunol. 2010;47(7-8):1561-1568. doi:10.1016/j.molimm.2010.01.009

  8. Beans, string, green, cooked from canned. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.