Navy bean, also known as Haricot, Pearl Haricot bean, Boston bean, Pea bean, or White pea bean, is a dry variety native to the US. It is white in colour, small, oval, and flattened in shape. It can be served in dried form and along with soups and pies. The navy got its current name because it was a staple food in the United States of America.
These small white beans are perfect for eating in baked conditions. Dry navy beans are available year-round in pre-packaged containers and bulk bins. Canned navy beans are also available at local markets.
Navy Beans contain essential nutrients like Sodium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, etc. It is rich in fibre. Fibre helps facilitate excretion and supports bulking up the stool and softening it so it can be easier to push and remove from the body. Patients looking for glycemic control can also use navy beans. It is also beneficial for Type 2 diabetes patients. It lowers cholesterol levels by reducing bad cholesterol or Low-Density Cholesterol levels.
Navy beans are anti-inflammatory as they contain a flavonoid called apigenin. As per research, apigenin is also an antioxidant. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-amyloidogenic, neuroprotective, and cognition-enhancing properties.
The HealthifyMe Note
Navy beans are pea-sized beans that are creamy white. They are mild-flavoured beans and are dense and smooth. Like other common beans, navy beans are one of 13,000 species of legumes or plants producing edible pods. Combined with whole grains such as rice, navy beans provide fat-free high-quality protein content.
Nutritional Properties of Navy beans
As per USDA data, 100 grams of dry navy beans serving contains:
- Water: 0 g
- Protein: 24.1 g
- Fat: 1.51g
- Fibre: 4.3 g
Vitamins and Minerals
Navy beans also contain fair amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Calcium: 229 mg
- Iron: 5.29 mg
- Magnesium: 180 mg
- Phosphorus: 523 mg
- Potassium: 1470 mg
- Zinc: 3.31 mg
- Copper: 1.14 mg
- Manganese: 2.22 mg
- Sulphur: 244 mg
- Nickel: 220 µg
- Molybdenum: 840 µg
- Cobalt: 38.9 µg
- Boron: 1220 µg
Health Benefits of Navy Beans
Provides Enough Fibre
A significant amount of fibre in navy beans is sufficient to keep your digestive system healthy. In addition, high fibre diets bulk the stool and make it softer, so removing this stool from the body becomes more effortless.
Consumption of Navy Beans is suitable for people suffering from diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, acidity, bloating, and other gastrointestinal disorders. According to the Institute of Medicine, the daily recommendation for fibre is at least 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men.
Navy Beans Boosts Heart Health
A high-fibre diet usually boosts heart health. Also, it lowers bad cholesterol. These dietary fibres get fermented and produce short-chain fatty acids. They appear to be very beneficial as these act as a mediator by gut microbiomes. SCFA directly modulates host health through various tissue-specific mechanisms related to gut barrier function, appetite regulation, and obesity.
SCFA has a potential role in the cardiovascular system.
Benefits of SCFA produced by the fermentation of fibres present in Navy Beans
- Metabolic Regulation: SCGA has a vital role in obesity and metabolic regulation. Acetate is essential in central appetite regulation by increasing production in the distal colon and promoting fat oxidation.
- Gut microbial function
- Blood pressure regulation function: SCFA examined blood pressure regulation in animal models. Acetate and propionate regulate blood pressure.
- Gut Barrier function: SCFA and butyrate help maintain a good healthy gut.
- Appetite regulation and energy intake: SCFA is beneficial for obese patients to reduce hunger levels.
Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight
Navy beans have a high nutrient density and low-calorie count. Also, combining high fibre and protein content may promote a healthy body weight. Studies show that fibre intake is associated with lower body weight. Another study suggests that higher-protein diets may increase weight loss and increase fat loss percentage.
Bodyweight management is a complex task, including the interplay of behavioural components like metabolic, hormonal, genetic, etc. Protein plays a vital role in the regulation of body weight. Multiple factors govern the mechanisms of increased dietary protein regulating body weight. Research suggests that a moderate increase in dietary protein alongside physical activity and a calorie-controlled diet may improve body weight and increase satiety.
Protein-rich foods link with a hormone called ghrelin also called hunger hormone. Consumption of a protein-rich diet over a long period may decrease appetite and lead to a natural loss of calories and weight. Research suggests people consuming Legumes are less obese than those who are not. People who eat beans have better body weight, waist circumferences, and lower systolic pressure than nonconsumers.
Improves Cognitive Functions
Vitamin B is a crucial component in navy beans. Therefore, it plays a key role in ensuring the proper functioning of the brain. Also, it is found mainly in non-vegetarian food sources. But, thanks to navy beans, vegetarians do not have to forgo their benefits. Regular intake of these beans improves memory and cognitive functioning and prevents neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Improve Diabetes Management and Prevention
Studies have shown that beans are a great option to control your blood sugar levels. Suppose you have diabetes and are vegetarian. In that case, you are likely aware that beans with rice provide a complete plant-based, protein-rich full meal. Furthermore, a study suggests that consuming navy beans or other legumes may improve glycemic control.
In a study published in 2019, evidence that flavonoid is present in beans, an antioxidant, may help lower the incidence of type 2 diabetes. A diet higher in legumes but lower in refined grains and processed meats show a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Those who have diabetes improve both glycemic and lipid control.
A study in Nutrition Journal published in April 2012 tested the effects of white beans, northern beans, navy beans, etc., on blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes when consumed with white rice. After testing blood sugar in participants who ate either white rice alone or rice with navy beans, the results showed blood sugar was lower in those who ate rice with navy beans.
Navy Beans Regulates Cholesterol
A study published in 2015 found that eating beans and legumes regularly helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, a meta-analysis of 10 randomised, controlled trials in which subjects consumed legumes for a minimum of 3 weeks revealed that eating legumes has a cholesterol-lowering effect.
In another study, 31 subjects with type 2 diabetes followed either a vegetable-free therapeutic eating regimen for coronary illness or a similar eating regimen supplanting two servings of red meat with vegetables three days/week. Again, scientists saw enhancements with the vegetable gathering in LDL cholesterol and fatty oils, as well as in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels.
Rich in Iron
Navy beans provide a slow-burning complex to carbohydrates. As a result, it increases your energy by replenishing the iron stores in your body.
In addition, it increases the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. Unlike red meat, another source of iron, navy beans are low in calories and virtually fat-free and would be a good option for vegetarians. A one-cup serving of navy beans provides 24% of the daily recommended intake for iron.
Navy beans are a good source of copper and manganese. They are essential for producing critical oxidative enzyme cofactors called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase disarms free radicals produced inside the mitochondria. Copper is also necessary for the activity of lysyl oxidase.
This enzyme is involved in cross-linking of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin provide the ground substance and flexibility in blood vessels, bones, and joints.
Reduces Mortality Risk
Several studies have shown that legume intake causes a lower risk of mortality and death from certain diseases, such as diseases related to the cardiovascular system and cancer.
For example, one study shows that Northern Beans consist of flavonoids, lowering the risk of death due to the cardiovascular system.
Reduces Mortality Risk
Navy Beans are one the healthiest beans with an exceptionally-rich nutritional profile. Because of their nutritional composition, navy beans lower cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, reduce mortality risks and aid healthy weight management.
Ways to Eat Navy Beans
Navy beans cannot be consumed dry. They have a soft, velvety texture accompanied by a slightly nutty taste. They can easily absorb the flavour of other ingredients during the cooking process. This property makes them suitable for several dishes.
Preparation Before Cooking
- Soak these beans in enough water overnight or for 6 to 8 hours, till they turn tender and absorb water.
- Rinse thoroughly with three cycles of water.
- Pressure cook for at least six whistles. Add three cups of water for each cup of uncooked beans.
- Drain and rinse before adding to the dish of your choice.
Recipes Using Navy Beans
Mediterranean Navy Bean Salad
- Servings: 4
- Preparation Time: 15 min
- Cooking Time: 0 min
- Total Time: 15 min
- Extra virgin olive oil: 2 tbsp
- Lemon Juice: 2 tbsp
- Minced garlic cloves: 2
- Salt: ¼ tsp
- Freshly ground pepper: ¼ tsp
- Navy bean: 30 oz.
- Finely chopped parsley: ½ bunch
- Grape tomatoes: 1 pint
- Feta cheese: Just a drizzle
- Prepare the dressing in a small bowl. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
- Finely chop the parsley and cut the grape tomatoes into halves.
- Add the beans, parsley and tomatoes into a bowl and toss with the dressing. You can serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to four days.
- Calories: 210.8 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 22.5 g
- Protein: 8.4 g
- Fat: 9.08 g
- Sodium: 552 mg
- Fibre: 7.2 g
Navy Bean and Spinach Curry
- Servings: 4
- Preparation Time: 5 min
- Cooking Time: 15 min
- Total Time: 20 min
- Navy beans: 28 oz. (1 tin)
- Tomato puree: 3 tbsp.
- Chopped medium onion: 1
- Chopped medium tomato: 1
- Chopped garlic cloves: 4
- Chopped ginger: 1 tsp
- Cold Pressed Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Coriander powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: according to taste
- Green chillies: 2
- Spinach leaves: 2 cups
- Fresh cilantro leaves: ¼ cup
- Water: 2 cups (you can add more to alter consistency)
- Soak navy beans overnight until they soften.
- Then, cook them in a pressure cooker for up to 6 whistles.
- In a heated pan, add oil. After the oil heats, add chopped onion and saute till it turns translucent.
- Add minced ginger to it and cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomato puree. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and salt and mix. Cook until the oil separates from the tomatoes for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add beans and cook for a minute. Then add spinach leaves and mix thoroughly.
- Add water according to the consistency you require. Check the salt and add more if needed. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
If you buy in bulk, look for uncracked navy beans that do not get exposed to dust and moisture. You can also buy dried beans in pre-packaged packets.
Store dried beans in an airtight container in your pantry or cool and dark place. If stored properly, navy beans should stay good for up to 12 months. If you cook great northern beans, they will stay fresh for about 3- 4 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.
Potential Side Effects of Navy Beans
If you suspect you are allergic to Navy Beans or any other legume, speak with your healthcare provider to get a personalised diagnosis.
Navy beans or other legumes contain anti-nutrients that interfere with nutrient absorption. For example, phytates can decrease the absorption of minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium.
This effect is shown by most of the legumes when taken in higher amounts. If you are taking any medications, consult with a doctor for possible drug interactions.
Gas and Bloating
Some people find eating navy beans causes bloating and indigestion. Also, fibre-rich foods produce more gas in the digestive tract, and excessive consumption may cause bloating. In addition, eating more navy beans leads to indigestion because the digestive enzymes in your stomach and intestines take more time to break down into simpler substances.
These undigested carbohydrates bypass digestion and remain relatively intact, eventually reaching your colon where resident bacteria digest them. These bacteria often create gas due to fermentation in the process. This gas causes bloating, and it releases as flatulence. Suppose you are already suffering from any gastrointestinal disorders. In that case, you can start having Navy Beans gradually so your body can adjust.
Navy Beans can serve as a staple diet. Navy beans are rich in nutrients and minerals. These Beans are best for people looking to manage their weight and people suffering from hypertension and diabetes. They are high in protein and fibre, which is good for the digestive system and gut health. On the other hand, they may also cause indigestion if consumed in excess.
Navy beans have a mild flavour and smooth texture. Therefore, one can include them in various dishes, from salad to soups and pasta. In addition, they can absorb the flavours of other ingredients easily. This property makes them perfect for a spicy curry. Navy beans are healthy and flavourful, and you must include them in your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the health benefits of navy beans?
A. Navy Beans are abundant in macronutrients and micronutrients along with fibre content. They can be beneficial for people looking to lose weight. They help reduce blood sugar and are perfect for diabetic patients. Navy Beans also help to reduce bad cholesterol levels. They are rich in minerals like iron and copper. Iron is essential for producing haemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. Copper helps repair damaged tissues and cells and acts as an anti-ageing agent.
Q. Are navy beans the healthiest Bean?
A. Yes, Navy Beans are the healthiest beans. A cup of cooked navy beans has 19.10 grams of fibre and 14.98 grams of protein. It is also rich in Iron, Sodium, Zinc, Potassium, etc. It may be effective in maintaining good heart health. In addition, It is beneficial for type 2 diabetes patients. They reduce bad cholesterol levels and also improve cognitive functions.
Q. Are navy beans good for skin?
A. Navy beans are good for the skin, thanks to the abundance of copper present in Navy beans. Copper provides elasticity to the skin by increasing elastin proteins and collagen production. Our bodies produce less collagen when we age. Navy Beans can help in the anti-ageing process. Consuming 1 cup of navy beans offers 20% of the copper ions required in our body.
Q. Will navy beans make you fat?
A. Navy beans do not increase your weight. Instead, navy Beans are low-calorie beans that help in weight loss. They are full of proteins and fibres. Combining high fibre and protein content promotes a healthy body weight. Studies have shown that fibre intake is associated with lower body weight.
Q. Are navy beans good for bodybuilding?
A. Navy Beans are a rich source of protein and complex carbohydrates. These two nutrients are essential for muscle growth and the bodybuilding process. Protein helps build and repair cells in the body. It also helps in the development of muscle cells. According to research, lysine is one of the components in navy beans, suppressing protein degradation. Almost 473mg of this amino acid is in half a cup of navy beans. Therefore, these beans are a perfect option for bodybuilders.
Q. Are navy beans a Superfood?
A. Navy Beans can be a superfood as it is the healthiest among all the beans. They are rich in various macronutrients and micronutrients, along with fibre content. It helps reduce bad cholesterol in your body, increase skin elasticity, and improve gut health, among several other benefits. Bodybuilders can also use it for muscle growth.
Q. Are canned navy beans healthy?
A. Canned navy beans are generally safe and healthy to consume. They are well processed and offer similar benefits to that of dried beans. Canned navy beans are excellent sources of nutrients, vitamins, and fibre. These beans are healthy for those looking to improve their gut health. They also help maintain cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Q. Are navy beans anti-inflammatory?
A. Navy beans are anti-inflammatory as they contain a flavonoid called apigenin. According to research, apigenin is also an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-amyloidogenic, neuroprotective, and cognition-enhancing substance.
Q. Are navy beans hard to digest?
A. Excessive eating of Navy Beans causes bloating. However, you can prepare the Navy Beans in a less gassy manner. Here are some tips:
- Presoaking: The gas-producing potential can be removed by soaking the Navy Beans in water for 12 to 24 hours. The longer the beans soak, the more effective this will be. One should use clean drinking water. Discard the water afterwards.
- Small servings: By starting slowly and keeping your portions small, you can let your body get adjusted to the fibre and oligosaccharides in navy beans. Eating beans more frequently or consuming larger servings will gradually increase your tolerance. When you eat navy beans regularly, you may find they produce less flatulence over time.
- Chew the Beans properly to increase the exposure of beans to saliva.
- Drink more water during the consumption of beans.
- Take enzymatic pills like alpha-galactosidase before meals. It will help to break down the beans effectively without producing gas