Green beans, also called snap beans or string beans, are a staple in many kitchens across the United States. They’re a beloved side dish at family potlucks, holiday meals, and nightly dinners.

Whether you blanch them, sauté them, or eat them straight from a can, green beans are a nutritious addition to your diet.

Green beans are native to North, South, and Central America. Today, however, they grow all over the world. They grow year-round, meaning you’ll find them in grocery stores no matter what season it is. Their peak season is between May and October, though, which is when you’ll often find them at local farmer’s markets. Here are some health benefits of eating green beans

Here are some of the health benefits of green beans.

1. Improve Heart Health

Green beans are full of fiber, which is an important nutrient for many reasons. Soluble fiber, in particular, may help to improve the health of your heart by lowering your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels.

2. Protect Gut Health

The fiber in green beans helps to keep your digestive system healthy and running smoothly. If you have a digestive disorder like irritable bowel syndrome, however, certain types of fiber can do more harm than good, leaving you with gas, bloating, and intestinal discomfort.

3. Aid in a Healthy Pregnancy

A single cup of green beans has approximately one-third of your daily recommended intake of folate, a B vitamin that’s necessary for the growth and development of unborn babies. The vitamin helps to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Women who are pregnant need to take in more folate than those who aren’t. Where most adults need 400mcg daily, women who are pregnant need 600mcg, and those who are nursing need 500mcg.

4. Protect Bone Health

Green beans are high in vitamin K, and they also contain a decent amount of calcium. These nutrients are important for maintaining strong, healthy bones and reducing your risk of fractures.

5. Reduce Depression Symptoms

Getting enough folate isn’t just important during pregnancy. The B vitamin is also important for reducing depression. Getting enough folate helps to reduce the amount of homocysteine in your body. Too much homocysteine can interfere with your natural production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, hormones that regulate your mood as well as your sleep and appetite.

A single cup of fresh green beans contains approximately 25% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It also has around 15% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, a vitamin necessary for eye health, as well as 33% of your recommended daily intake of folate, which is vital for preventing neural tube defects