French beans, also known as fansi, are smaller in shape in comparison to regular green beans. The pods of the beans are soft and velvety in texture. The seeds inside the fleshy mass of the beans are also smaller in size. The overall taste of these beans is sweet, tender, and crisp. They are undoubtedly delicious among all the beans. The way to optimize its taste is to pick it up when it is quite small in size and raw. They are sprout on a bushy plant that grows to a height of almost twelve to twenty inches, depending upon their variety. However, some varieties of the beans grow as creepers and reach a height of almost seven feet. While shopping for French beans, one must ensure to pick up the freshest, brightest green pods that are crisp when broken.
Culinary usage of French beans
French beans can be cooked by themselves or as an ingredient in a variety of savoury dishes. Here are some picks we have collated for you.
1. Take some oil, ghee, or butter and stir-fry French beans with some salt and other spices. You can also enhance the taste by adding some kalonji to it or some other vegetables. Top them up with almonds, garlic, cheese, and tomatoes for some extra flavour.
2. Small, soft, and tender French beans are a perfect match for any Chinese cuisine. Especially, when tossed with garlic and soy sauce, they are delectable. Chinese use sesame seeds for garnishment. Hence, don’t forget to garnish your French beans, garlic, and soy sauce dish with sesame seeds for that extra crunch.
3. French beans can be added to many other preparations of curries and subjis. Almost all royal cuisines can accommodate French beans in them for that added bite and taste.
4. French beans combined with potato is a unique preparation that is common in almost every household and is cooked frequently.
5. Many South Indian dishes also incorporate French beans. To name a few, we have French beans foogath, French beans and carrot thoran, or French beans and chana dal stir-fry.
6. French beans also taste brilliant when blended with coconut.
7. Pasta is another dish that can have French beans in it to elevate the taste.
8. French beans can also be used in a variety of cutlets, puffs, and patties. Try veg puffs or veg cutlets with a French bean stuffing.
Benefits of consuming French beans
French beans are a rich source of folic acid. We all are aware that a deficiency in folic acid can ultimately lead to anemia. This is because folic acid along with iron is necessary for making hemoglobin. French beans are particularly beneficial for expecting mothers, who need a higher quantity of folic acid. French beans are also effective in helping in weight loss, avoiding constipation, managing blood sugar levels, and taking care of cholesterol. Research states that French beans can also help in preventing cancer. Moreover, French beans also contribute to a healthy heart as they greatly help in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. The proteins in French beans help in maintaining healthy bones, hair, muscles, and organs.
Nutritional components of French beans
One cup of French beans offers:
Energy – 30 kcal
Protein – 2.2 gm
Carbs – 5.9 gm
Fat – 0.1 gm
Fibre – 2.3 gm
Let’s now look at the vitamins and minerals components found in French beans:
Vitamin A – 171.6 mcg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 0.08 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) – 59.2 mcg
Vitamin C – 31.2 mg
Vitamin K – 14.4 μg
Calcium – 65 mg
Iron – 0.8 mg
Sodium – 5.6 mg
Magnesium – 49.4 mg
Phosphorous – 36.4 mg
Zinc – 0.84 mg
Potassium – 156 mg
Things to watch out for
Though French beans offer a vast array of nutrition, still there some factors that you must consider, before adding them into your diet. Here they are listed:
1. Vitamins present in French beans, especially vitamin K might contradict with medicines that are blood thinners. This could further affect the clotting mechanism of your blood. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a dietitian before consuming them, if you are on any blood-thinning medication.
2. Lectins, a variant of protein, present in the beans may cause digestive discomfort in some people
3. The composition of phytic acid in French beans might disrupt the absorption of minerals in the human body. A person with mineral deficiency must consult a doctor/dietitian if he/she is adding French beans to their diet
Whether you enjoy French beans, boiled with no spices or in a curry and with vegetables, they are a fantastic source of nutrition. They provide essential nutrients for optimal health benefit. However, just remember too much a good thing can also be bad for you. Hence, people with medical conditions must comply with their doctors’/dietitians’ instructions.