Green Beans During Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits and More

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Crispy, delicious, and easy to prepare, green beans are a healthy and tasty addition to any diet. But are they safe during pregnancy?

Green beans are safe for pregnant women if they are washed thoroughly under running water. Frozen green beans must be stored according to package instructions. For canned beans, be cautious about home-canned varieties and choose commercial cans that aren’t damaged.

How can washing make these beans safe and home-canning make them unsafe? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and learn what nutrients you can gain from these beans!

Are Green Beans Good for Pregnant Women? The Benefits

Green beans, also called French beans or “haricots verts” are excellent for a dinner side dish. Some people even eat them as snacks!

This is because they aren’t only delicious and easy to prepare, but they also have impressive nutritional qualities. 

A 100-gram serving of these beans provides considerable amounts of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and fiber

During pregnancy, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on your sodium intake and increase your potassium intake. Green beans have considerable potassium content while being low in sodium, making them a good choice. 

Here are some of the other variety of nutrients they contain and how they benefit you during pregnancy:

  • Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and counter the effects of sodium on blood pressure (source: NIH). 
  • Vitamin A is necessary during healthy pregnancy because it helps support your developing baby and your metabolism (source: NIH).
  • Vitamin K is also important to prevent severe bleeding and good bone health (source: MedlinePlus). 
  • Fiber can be a friend during pregnancy. It helps good digestion and could help prevent constipation, gestational weight gain, and glucose intolerance (source: NIH).

On top of these, these beans also contain chlorophyll and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the body (source: ScienceDirect).

cooked green beans with onion and parsley on a plate

Are Green Beans Safe During Pregnancy?

Green beans are safe to eat during pregnancy if they’re washed first.

While vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, they can be just as great a source for germs, specifically Salmonella and Listeria (source: NIH). 

According to CDC, cooked produce is the safest to consume. The second safest is produce that has been thoroughly washed. 

For fresh green beans, you can minimize the risk of getting food-borne illnesses by washing the vegetables under running water. Their skin or peel might have pathogens that can penetrate when you cut them, so be sure to wash well. (source: CDC).

Rub them thoroughly under running water with your hands. This also helps eliminate pests, dirt, or pesticides that could be present (source: CSU Extension). For more on this, see our guide to washing veg.

We recommend removing the stem and string only when you are about to use them. Dry them well afterward with a clean towel. 

Frozen green beans are either cut or whole. According to USDA, these are the different types of packed frozen beans:

  • Regular process — processed in a way that does not affect brightness
  • Extended blanch process — this process affects the brightness of the beans
  • Special pack —contains two or more different types of green beans

(Source: USDA). 

Most frozen beans you’ll see in the supermarket do not contain these labels. Nonetheless, these beans are safe when stored according to package instructions and thawed only when you’re about to cook them.

There are three safe ways the USDA recommends to thaw food: in cold water, in the refrigerator, or in the microwave (source: USDA). 

Make sure you buy canned green beans from manufacturers that abide by safe handling, preparation, and canning practices.

You should avoid canning them at home unless you have all the equipment and skills needed to prepare them safely. Home-canned green beans have been under scrutiny after a couple in Germany contracted botulism from canned green beans.

Botulism is caused by a harmful bacteria named Clostridium botulinum, which produces toxins. The toxin identified in this case was botulinum neurotoxin type A (source: Journal of Medical Case Reports). This toxin can occur in incorrectly canned foods like beans.

Therefore, if you’re going to eat home canned during pregnancy, it’s best to exercise caution, especially if you’re not sure about the processes and sterilization used.

raw green beans salad with tomatoes on a plate

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Green Beans During Pregnancy? 

Green beans can be eaten raw during pregnancy provided that they are thoroughly washed. The same is true for most raw or fresh fruits and vegetables.

I’m Craving Green Beans When Pregnant: Is This Normal? 

Cravings are normal during pregnancy. You might find yourself craving sweets, something salty, or even a non-food item such as ice

If you’re craving green beans, you can safely indulge your craving if they’re prepared and washed thoroughly, or are cooked.

Green beans are a great way to get healthy during your pregnancy, and they are safe when washed and prepared the right way. We hope this article helped answer your queries about these beans.