You’ve had them in soups, salads and sides, but how much do you really know about navy beans and their potential health benefits? I bet if you knew more about navy beans nutrition, you’d add these white beans into meals for frequently.
That’s exactly why these white beans are among the 10 best legumes to eat for your overall health.
Navy beans nutrition is quite impressive, with a long list of micronutrients and antioxidants. These beans are also an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber.
Adding navy beans to your diet can help to reduce LDL cholesterol, improve heart health and help you to maintain a healthy weight. Read on to learn more about navy beans nutrition.
What Are Navy Beans?
Navy beans are a type of white bean in the Fabaceae family of legumes. They are native to the Americas and got their American name from the sailors who used them as a staple food in the 19th century.
They also go by the names haricot, pearl haricot bean, white pea bean and Boston bean.
Navy beans are smaller than other white beans, and they have an oval, somewhat flattened shape.
They feature disease-fighting antioxidants and important nutrients like folate and vitamin B12. These beans also are provide gluten-free protein and fiber.
You’ll find navy beans in a range of dishes, with some of the most popular being soups and chili.
Navy Beans Nutrition Facts
Like all white beans, they are known for their high levels of phosphatidylserine, a fatty substance that plays an essential role in brain health. Navy beans also feature apigenin, a type of flavonoid that possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
One cup (about 182 grams) of cooked navy beans contains approximately the following:
- 255 calories
- 47 grams carbohydrates
- 15 grams protein
- 1.1 grams fat
- 19 grams fiber
- 255 micrograms folate (64 percent DV)
- 1 milligram manganese (48 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligrams thiamine (29 percent DV)
- 262 milligrams phosphorus (26 percent DV)
- 4.3 milligrams iron (24 percent DV)
- 96 milligrams magnesium (24 percent DV)
- 708 milligrams potassium (20 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligrams copper (19 percent DV)
- 126 milligrams calcium (13 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligrams vitamin B6 (13 percent DV)
- 1.9 milligrams zinc (12 percent DV)
- 5.3 micrograms selenium (8 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams riboflavin (7 percent DV)
- 1.2 milligrams niacin (6 percent DV)
- 0.5 milligrams pantothenic acid (5 percent DV)
- 1.6 milligrams vitamin C (3 percent DV)
The nutrition profile of navy beans is what allows for the beans’ many potential health benefits. The antioxidant and micronutrient compounds alone allow the beans to help fight disease, boost heart health and support cognitive function.
Here’s a breakdown of the top benefits of navy beans:
1. Support Brain Health
Navy beans contain phosphatidylserine, a type of phospholipid that contains amino acids and fatty acids. These essential molecules increase the levels of brain chemicals that work to improve memory and brain cell communication.
Research suggests that phosphatidylserine may help slowdown age-related cognitive decline.
These molecules in navy beans have also been shown to combat depression and improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a brain disorder that causes difficulty with balance and coordination.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Navy beans are a great source of polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals and prevent damage to our cells. Because of their antioxidant content, navy beans have been found to fight inflammation and help modulate immune responses.
Navy beans also contain apigenin, a type of flavonoid that has been studied for its many health benefits, including its ability to fight diabetes, amnesia, Alzheimer’s and depression.
3. Help Regulate Cholesterol
A study published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research found that navy bean consumption reduced metabolic risk factors associated with obesity, including high cholesterol levels, in participants. Study participants consumed five cups of canned navy beans per week for four weeks.
Results showed that bean consumption helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels among male patients.
Another study published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that navy bean consumption demonstrated efficacy in regulating cholesterol levels in adults and children. Researchers concluded that eating beans decreased free fatty acids associated with metabolic diseases and increased the abundance of anti-inflammatory lipids.
4. Support Heart Health
Eating legumes is known to be a natural way to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For starters, legumes have been proven to help reduce elevated LDL cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Navy beans nutrition also features compounds that effectively reduce markers of inflammation, which often contribute to cardiovascular disorders.
5. Aid Weight Loss
Consuming white beans is an excellent way to maintain a healthy weight or support weight loss. Navy beans nutrition includes both plant-based protein and fiber. These help promote feelings of satiety and reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates sensations of hunger.
There’s also research involving mice indicating that navy bean supplementation during high-fat-induced obesity improved intestinal health, promoting a healthy microbiota and barrier integrity, and reduced the severity of the obese phenotype, or characteristic.
6. Combat Diabetes
Adding white beans into your diet may help combat diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and aiding weight loss.
Reports shows that the consumption of beans, including navy, black, pinto and kidney beans, is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and may reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Navy beans are available dry and canned. If you are cooking them yourself, they need to be soaked in cold water for about three to five hours first. Then they can be simmered for one hour or cooked in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes.
Canned beans should be rinsed well and then used in any white beans recipes.
These beans can be added to a variety of recipes. They can be used to make soups, chili, casseroles, salads and side dishes.
When cooked, they become soft and can easily be mashed to create a delicious dip or add bulk to soups.
Here are some easy navy beans recipes:
Risks and Side Effects
It’s not safe to consume raw navy beans. This may cause phytohemagglutinin poisoning that causes the clumping of red blood cells.
Cooking legumes inactivates phytohemagglutinin and negates lectins’ toxic properties.
Consuming soaked and cooked navy beans is considered safe and helps eliminate antinutrients. If you use canned navy beans, watch out for the sodium content and any additives.
It is possible to be allergic to legumes. Allergy symptoms may include hives, wheezing and tightening of the throat in severe cases. Discontinue consumption immediately if you experience these symptoms, and consult your health care provider.
- Navy beans are a type of white beans that can be used in a variety of recipes, from soups to chili.
- These white beans pack quite the nutritional punch, containing powerful antioxidants, micronutrients, plant-based protein and fiber.
- The health benefits of navy beans include their ability to boost brain health, support cardiovascular health, regulate cholesterol levels and aid weight loss.