Navy beans (botanical name – Phaseolus vulgaris), also known as Haricot beans or white beans, are small, pea-sized beans which are creamy white in color. Their name is derived from their widespread use by the US Navy, who used the beans as a central part of the sailors’ diet.
Nutrition facts about navy beans
They are a good source of fiber and an excellent source of both manganese and vitamin B9. Moreover, these beans are an important source of numerous minerals including copper, calcium, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, magnesium and iron. More importantly, the beans contain vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and K.
In addition, they are the most abundant plant-based source of phosphatidylserine which plays a vital role in cell cycle signaling, specifically in relationship to apoptosis.
Health benefits of white beans
Makes you energetic
Iron is an essential mineral and according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 10 percent of women are deficient in this mineral. One of the most important health benefits of this essential mineral is that it acts as a carrier of oxygen and helps to carry oxygen from one body cell to another.
Moreover, iron contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses, the signals which coordinate the actions of different parts of the body. Consuming foods in iron also helps to improve exercise performance in women and men, as per a 2014 study conducted by the University of Melbourne. As a side note, inadequate intake of vitamin C may contribute to iron deficiency as ascorbic acid is needed to absorb the non-heme iron (that is found in plant foods).
100g of these beans contain 2,4 mg iron – 30% DV.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, provides numerous health benefits in its role as a vital nutrient. For example, vitamin B1 is used in combination with other B vitamins, that are part of the “B Vitamin Complex”, to regulate essential functions of the endocrine system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system.
In addition, essential fatty acids Omega-6 and Omega-3 together with thiamine help ensure eye health and prevent the formation of cataracts. Furthermore, your physical body needs this vitamin to form ATP – adenosine triphosphate, that every cell of the body uses for energy. Thiamine also helps to produce acid in your stomach, thereby helping your stomach and your digestion system to make sure that you digest foods correctly and effectively.
100g of these beans contain – 0,2 mg vitamin B1 – 20% DV.
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The health benefits of copper are important for an overall healthy existence, as it enables normal metabolic processes in association with vitamins and essential amino acids. A copper deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, an increased risk of infection, compromised growth, and impaired neurological function. Copper has anti-inflammatory abilities that help to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
100g of these beans contain 0,2 mg of copper – 23% DV.
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is one of the B-complex vitamins and is needed for the conversion of carbs into energy and the production of RNA and DNA. According to studies, maintaining a consistent dietary intake of vitamin B9 is crucial to protecting long-term health and managing homocysteine metabolism. In addition, for pregnant women, a vitamin B9 deficiency is risky because it can potentially lead to neural tube defects, including anencephaly, spina bifida, heart complications, and malformations of the limbs.
100g of these beans contain 35% of the recommended daily intake of folate.
Good for diabetics
According to CDC, type 2 diabetes Mellitus accounts for about 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults. If current trends continue, by 2025 over 700 million individuals worldwide will be afflicted with type 2 diabetes, with 12.8 percent of men and 10.4 percent of women affected. White beans are an ideal food for diabetic sufferers due to their low glycemic ranking of 31.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in foods which contain protein, including these beans. Researchers have found that this amino acid improves both the quality of sleep as well as the time to fall asleep. Additionally, the body uses it to produce niacin (vitamin B3), which can help lower your LDL cholesterol and increase your HDL cholesterol.
100g of these beans contain 25% of the recommended daily intake of tryptophan.
Improves bone health
Manganese is an essential mineral which is required by your physical body in little amounts. It is present in the highest quantities in whole foods, including certain nuts (almonds and hazelnuts), grains (such as – buckwheat, oatmeal, oat bran, bulgur wheat), legumes, and seeds (including flaxseeds and chia seeds).
When combined with the right amounts of zinc, calcium, and copper, manganese improves normal bone density, particularly in the legs and spine. The symptoms of a deficiency in this mineral include heart ailments, high blood pressure, bone malformation, muscular contraction, poor eyesight, high LDL cholesterol, severe memory loss, hearing trouble, and tremors.
100g of these beans contain 0,5 mg – 23% of the recommended daily intake of manganese.
These beans are one of the most concentrated food sources of molybdenum. The main known function of this mineral in humans is to act as a bridge for enzymes and to help with the breakdown of non-essential and essential amino acids in your body. Moreover, it is a necessary soil component for preventing the growth of cancer-producing agents, better known as nitrosamines.
Selection and storing
Choose organic beans whenever you can, which are commonly quite easy to find. For canned white beans, buy cans which are not dented, cracked, leaking, or have bulging lids.
Note – while canned beans are convenient, cooking dried beans is better and healthier because almost all canned beans contain food additives and sodium.
Store the beans in a cool, dry place. Store cooked beans in a refrigerator, in the salad compartment, for up to four days.
- Similar to all dried beans, these white beans need a soaking process before cooking and serving. Usually, three cups of water are recommended for every one cup of dried white beans. This process allows the beans to absorb water and facilitates the elimination of the phytic acid content, which may disrupt mineral absorption and cause intestinal discomfort.
- Drain and rinse the beans before cooking them for 45-60 minutes, or to desired tenderness. In addition, before cooking, pick through the beans and remove any broken beans, stones, or other bits of debris.
- Try cooking the beans with – garlic cloves, onion, savory, rosemary, sage, turmeric, and thyme or chili peppers.