Navy bean also known as Haricot, Pearl Haricot bean, Boston bean, Pea bean or White pea bean is a dry variety of bean, native to America. White in colour, small, oval and slightly flattened in shape, it is one of the most important ingredients in one famous dishes western world relish – the baked beans and a staple in variety of soups and pies.
This particular variety of common bean that goes with the botanical name Phaseolus vulgaris earned its moniker ‘navy beans’, from the US defence forces, as it constantly featured in the list of staples served to its sailors, since mid-18th century. Historians believe that the cultivation of navy beans in Australia started during the second World War, just for providing protein-rich, nutritious yet an inexpensive diet to the American soldiers stationed in Queensland. Since there was a large base of troops in Kingaroy, spread across South-East Queensland, these beans were cultivated and harvested extensively, later earning that area the title ‘Baked Bean Capital of Australia’.
Nutrition in Navy Beans:
Navy beans are often referred as white beans, Mangalore beans or just sundal in many parts of India. A powerhouse of plant-based protein, saponin, ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid among other nutrients navy beans are often credited to lowering low-density lipoprotein – LDL or bad cholesterol, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity. Rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B, iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium and an array of other vitamins and minerals, these beans play a crucial role in triggering metabolism and in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.
Fat: 0.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 23.7 grams
Fibre: 9.6 grams
Sugars: 0.3 grams
Protein: 7.5 grams
Potassium: 354 milligrams
Navy beans are a rich source of complex carbohydrates and it serves 23.7 grams, 9.6 grams of dietary fibre. Consumption of complex carbs is highly recommended for meeting the daily requirement of dietary fibre and other nutritional content. Owing to negligible amounts of sugar, higher fibre content, with glycemic index ranking between 29 and 39, it digests slowly making it an ideal food choice for those suffering from diabetes.
It is often believed that fats are bad but that’s not true. Navy beans contain good amounts of unsaturated fats, which form an important part of healthy calorie intake on daily basis for higher levels of energy.
Protein is a crucial part of our daily diet plan and are of two types – complete and incomplete. Made of chemical building blocks known as amino acids, it aids in building muscles, regulating hormones and stimulating various enzymes for regulating bodily functions. Navy beans are a great source of plant protein with every half cup of serving offering 7.5 grams of protein. The presence of lysine ensures proper muscle build-up and tissue repair.
Navy beans in Ayurveda:
As per the traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda, navy beans fall under the category of heating foods. It is a vata pacifying food, however they need to be washed thoroughly and cooked properly. Adding ample amounts of ground spices to any dish stimulates its properties for regulating vata disorders and offer deep nourishment.
Navy beans however prevent digestion, cause severe flatulence. However, these particular beans are easier to digest when compared to chickpeas and kidney beans.
Health Benefits of Navy Beans:
Reduces Blood Sugar:
Navy beans are a perfect food choice for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. Super low on glycemic index at just 29, these beans not only digest very slowly but also provide ample amounts of fibre which ensures slower absorption of glucose into the blood. Include it in your regular diet for preventing sudden spikes in the levels of blood sugar, especially after consuming sweets. If diabetes runs in your family and if you are at the risk of developing this chronic ailment, believe in the benefits of navy beans for preventing it.
Navy beans are one of the super foods that can keep your gut function at the optimum level. The presence of resistant starch pushes undigested, residual food into the large intestine, making the dietary to ferment and transform into prebiotic, which in turn feeds good bacteria for better functioning of the gastrointestinal organs. This further reduces bloating, flatulence.
Navy beans are a powerhouse of plant-based protein and also complex carbs. Vegetarians should add these wonder beans to their regular diet for better muscles, repairing cells in the body. Lysine, an amino acid present in these beans is crucial for protein synthesis and maintaining healthy body tissues, besides maintains energy levels throughout the day. Eat a fistful of these cooked beans post workout for fighting fatigue instantly.
Boosts Cardiac Health:
Navy beans are high on soluble fibre, important for better cardiac functioning. This fibre not only brings down the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol but also increases the HDL or good cholesterol presence in the blood. With folate and magnesium being present in copious amounts, navy beans also reduce homocysteine, a particular type of amino acid often associated with increasing the risk of heart ailments, if elevated. These minerals further regulate healthy heartrate and maintain blood pressure.
Improves Cognitive Functions:
Vitamin B is a crucial component, a key for ensuring proper functioning of the brain. It is found mainly in non-vegetarian food source but vegetarians do not have to forego its benefits, all thanks to Navy beans. Regular intake of these beans improve memory, cognitive functioning and further prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s.
Aids in Weight Loss:
Navy beans are your low-calorie food, if you are on a calorie-deficit diet. Eat a fistful of these cooked beans soon after your workouts for gaining instant energy. White beans not only aid in losing weight but also keep you satiated for longer hours thus preventing mid-day hunger pangs.
Natural food sources rich in protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals are pivotal for triggering metabolism and Navy beans fall into the same category of super foods. Consuming around 2 to 4 cups of these white beans every week stimulate metabolism, trigger weight loss. Researchers suggest that the intake of these particular variety of beans also reduce various complications associated with metabolic syndrome including obesity, high levels of LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood glucose.
Stimulates Blood Circulation:
Navy beans are rich in iron and copper, which are important for transporting oxygen throughout the body. These minerals aid in the formation of haemoglobin, fight anaemia, and also stimulate the production of red blood cells.
Navy Beans Recipes:
Navy beans are small white beans and cannot be consumed dry. Soak these beans in enough water overnight or a period of 6 to 8 hours, till they turn tender. Rinse thoroughly and pressure cook for at least 6 whistles before adding to the dish of your choice.
Navy Bean Soup:
250 grams navy beans
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
½ red bell pepper, chopped finely
½ green bell pepper, chopped finely
2 carrots, sliced round
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly ground cumin or jeera powder
1 bay leaf
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tsp pepper
Fistful of coriander leaves, chopped finely
Salt to taste
Soak navy beans overnight or till they soften
Cook them in a pressure cooker up to 6 whistles
In a pan, add olive oil. Sauté bay leaf, onions, bell peppers, carrot and garlic cloves. Allow all vegetables to cook
Add vegetable broth or water along with cooked beans
Stir in cumin powder, pepper and salt. Bring it to a boil
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot as it is or along with toasted bread
Navy beans are a rich source of folate, magnesium, potassium and other nutrients that help in weight loss, trigger metabolism and regulate blood sugars. Both onions and garlic contain good amounts of antioxidants that help in fighting inflammation, reduce triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and improve heart function. Red bell peppers are an amazing source of vitamin A and C and this recipe helps in meeting your daily recommended intake of these vitamins. Coriander leaves, pepper, cumin powder aid in digestion and regulate bowel movements.
250 grams navy beans, soaked overnight
6 tomatoes, pureed
1 onion, chopped finely
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Pressure cook soaked navy beans for 6 whistles. Let it cool down, save the water
In a pan, add oil. Sauté onions, garlic cloves and stir in tomato puree
Cook till it thickens, and raw smell goes away. Add cooked beans and give it a good stir
Mix in oregano, ground pepper and smoked paprika. Add beans cooked water if the mixture is very thick
Transfer the entire content into an oven-free pan and bake it for 10 minutes at 180 degree Celsius
Serve it hot with bread, roti or as a part of main course
Baked foods are high on nutrition as they are less on oil and other fats. Adding fully cooked beans to this dish not only elevates the taste but its nutritional content as well. A popular dish in the western world, bakes beans keep you full for longer hours and prevent sudden craving for unhealthy snacks. Oregano not only adds intense flavour to the dish but is also antibacterial, rich in fibre, vitamin K, iron, vitamin E. Tomatoes are on the other hand are a great source of antioxidant lycopene which reduces the risk of heart attack and other associated complications. Relish it guilt free on a winter evening for great health benefits.
Navy beans are highly recommended for those on weight loss, diabetics and for triggering metabolism. However, excessive intake of these beans can lead to constipation, irregular bowel movements and severe stomach pain. Avoid these beans if you have sensitive stomach. Undercooked beans can cause gut issues. If you are pregnant, lactating mother talk to your doctor, if Navy beans are recommended for you.
Navy beans also known as white beans, haricot beans are a staple in the western world, especially for those working in the defence forces for meeting their daily nutritional requirement. Rich in folate, magnesium, potassium, protein, complex carbs, good fats, iron, copper and other array nutrients, these white flat beans should be part of your regular diet plan for losing weight, maintaining healthy cardiac health, improving brain function, building muscles and repairing tissues.Dishes made out of navy beans are delicious and meet the daily nutritional requirements. However, avoid these beans if you have sensitive, delicate stomach issues, as it may cause severe constipation and other digestive issues.