Can You Eat Green Beans Raw?

Can you eat green beans raw? It might seem like something safe to do. However, there’s the issue of whether or not it’s healthy. The main issue is related to whether or not it’s safe to eat high-lectin foods.

cooked asparagus on a white plate

Can you eat raw green beans? It might seem like something safe to do. However, in recent years some diets have ditched foods like soybeans, pinto beans, and green beans for different reasons. 

Some diets like Paleo and Plant Paradox, ditch foods that are high in lectins like beans. These are a kind of proteins that are considered dangerous because plants use them to keep animals and people from eating them. It is highly recommended, that people soak high-lectin foods like kidney beans before eating them. However, there’s some debate about whether humans should consume any foods with lectins.

There are other reasons why diets sometimes don’t allow all beans. For example, some low-carb diets don’t allow grains and beans, due to the high amount of carbohydrates. For example, 1 cup of chickpeas has about 120g of carbs. That is 2x the amount allowed for one full day on the Keto/Atkins diets. Green beans are a lot lower at 7g of carbs, which is much lower in carbs versus other types. However, the main issue related to beans is still high lectins. This is something to consider when picking veggies to eat for lunch or dinner.  

What Are Lectins and Are They Dangerous?

Lectins are proteins, and some fruits/vegetables include high amounts:

  • Eggplants
  • Fruits
  • Kidney Beans (red)
  • Peanuts
  • Potatoes
  • Soybeans
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat

Some diet programs make claims that eliminating high-lectin foods produces health benefits like curing different health issues like autoimmune diseases. However, there’s no evidence that it’s the case. If you have serious diseases, like celiac disease, you might have some issues triggered by beans.

That said, it’s quite another situation when you completely swap out certain foods from your diet due to lectins. You can easily reduce certain plant-based foods’ lectin proteins by taking basic steps. They include soaking/sprouting them or simply cooking them. For example, you can reduce the lectins in red kidney beans by simply soaking them then cooking them.

Lectins are natural proteins that exist in most of the world’s plants. However, they’re higher in certain foods, which is why some diets don’t allow their dieters to consume foods high in lectins. What are they all about? Lectins protein various plants so humans/animals don’t consume them.

Scientific studies show that consuming high amounts of lectins could cause some health issues. However, there’s a question mark about whether or not they’re poisonous as some diets claim. There’s evidence that’s the case.  

Another issue is many of the high-lectin foods are considered superfoods. Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, including one that gives them their red color. Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium. Soybeans are one of the few plant-based foods that are “complete proteins.” In other words, they contain all the essential amino acids (EAAs) required daily from foods/supplements.

There’s no question more research is needed. Past studies are mixed about whether or not lectins are safe and any potential danger they pose to humans who consume them.

Can You Eat Raw Green Beans?

OK, technically you can—but should you? The main issue in terms of nutritional value is related to the lectin proteins. As noted, this is a big debate topic so it’s unclear about whether or not it’s safe to eat high-lectin foods.

In terms of eating raw beans, it’s a good idea to soak them if you’re going to eat them raw. That will help to reduce their lectins, which can provide health benefits if you’re trying to avoid possible issues related to high-lectin foods.

Besides that issue, no question eating raw fruits/vegetables when possible can provide lots of health benefits since the foods don’t lose vitamins/minerals/enzymes from being cooked at high temperatures.

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup of green beans:

  • Calories: There are just 31 calories in a cup of beans. That’s quite low compared to the nutritional value you get from them. It’s about 1.5% on a 2,000-calorie diet, so you probably won’t wreck your diet by consuming a cup of beans. You could even add different ingredients like some bacon/ham and herbs/spices.
  • Carbs: In a cup of green beans, you get 7g of carbs. This is quite low. In terms of the nutritional value, you’re getting “good” carbs so the beans are worth considering even if you’re counting carbs. Another benefit of green beans is they’re lower-carb than other beans. So, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a low-carb veggie.
  • Protein: There’s almost 2g of protein in a cup of beans. It’s not a sky-high amount but will help you get in a full day’s worth of the macronutrient. You can boost your protein intake even more by pairing the beans with lean meat and some Greek yogurt, for example. Protein is important for various body functions like building/repairing muscles.
can you eat raw green beans?

Low-carb Green Bean Recipes

1. Cashew w/ Bacon

This one includes lots of protein/fats from the bacon, nuts, and beans. Cashews are one of the best pairings with green beans. When combined with the crunch/salty goodness of the bacon, it’s as good as it gets for veggie dishes.

2. Garlic

This herb is easily one of the healthiest options since it’s loaded with health benefits like antioxidants and anti-fungal/microbe properties. If you’re looking for a healthy yet tasty way to eat green beans, try out this one.

3. Low-carb Casserole

Besides the beans, you also get other healthy ingredients like real cheese. Casseroles are one of the all-time favorite dinner dishes. This one keeps it low-carb even though it’s loaded with flavor and texture.

4. Bacon-Wrapped

Most people will go with this one since it involves bacon. The processed food is surprisingly Keto/Atkins-friendly since it’s high-fat yet low-carb. Another plus is you get healthy fat, protein, and vitamins/minerals from the same dish.

5. Garlic Parmesan

This option is oven-fried, so it’s healthier than fried green beans. You also get some healthy fat from the parmesan cheese. If you’re on diets like Keto or Atkins, then it’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats. You can do that through cheese since it’s a dairy product. Make sure to go with a minimally-processed version.  

6. Italian Salad

This one includes stuff like olive oil and Italian herbs/spices. We often think of vegetable salads as being healthy yet boring. This one is a quick fix since it’s loaded with herbs and spices.

7. Green Fries

If you like French fries but what a much healthier option, then this is it. One of the main issues with traditional fries is they’re highly-processed and often so much so that they don’t decompose like real food. It is a healthier option while giving you some of the same crunches after learning can you eat green beans raw.

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