Navy beans, popular in both dry and green forms, are especially very popular in the United States and the United Kingdom. Scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, they have been derived from bean ancestor that originated in Peru (common to pinto beans and black beans as well). It was from Peru that the beans were introduced throughout South and Central America, by the migrating Indian trades. By the 15th century, navy beans had been brought to Europe as well, by Spanish explorers who were returning from their voyages to the New World. Along with Portuguese explorers, they spread the beans in Africa and Asia as well. Today, the beans are produced mainly in India, China, Indonesia, Brazil and the United States, but consumed across the world, due to their numerous benefits. Let us explore the health benefits of navy beans in detail.
Health Benefits of Eating Navy Beans
- Navy beans are full of dietary fiber that not only helps prevent constipation, but also helps keeps digestive disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis, at bay.
- Being a rich source of dietary fiber, folate and magnesium, navy beans have been found to reduce the risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
- Navy beans are full of complex carbohydrates that, rather than leading to any sort of weight gain, provide the brain and muscles with a good and stable supply of energy.
- If you are suffering from the problem of insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, navy beans would prove highly beneficial for you. They help balance blood sugar levels in the body, while providing steady, slow-burning energy.
- Navy beans prove to be a good source of iron, while being low in calories and almost fat-free. This is the reason why they are recommended for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women as well as children who are in the growing-up stage.
- There is high thiamin (vitamin B1) content in navy beans. The nutrient is involved in the synthesis of acetylcholine, the important neurotransmitter essential for memory, a lack of which can lead to age-related impairment in mental function (senility) and Alzheimer's disease.
- The dietary fiber in navy beans attaches itself to the bile acids in the intestines, used in the synthesis of cholesterol. When excreted by the body, the fiber takes the bile acids along with it, thus helping lower the blood cholesterol levels.
- The magnesium present in navy beans, by serving as a calcium channel blocker, helps ease fatigue and unwind tired muscles, nerves and blood vessels, in turn alleviating the symptoms related to asthma, migraine headaches, tension and soreness in muscles.
- Being one of the best sources of copper, navy beans help reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, they promote the activity of enzymes needed to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, ligaments and joints.
- Navy beans are rich in a number of nutrients that take part in the detoxification of the body. By aiding detoxification, they help reduce the risk of various inflammatory, degenerative and cardiovascular diseases, in turn promoting overall health of a person.
- Navy beans should never ever be eaten in the raw form. This is because they contain a substance that, when eaten uncooked, can cause illness. However, it is completely safe to eat the beans after cooking.
- Individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems, such as gout and kidney stone, should avoid excessive intake of navy beans. It can worsen their health problems.
- To make the cooking process easier and digestion better, you can soak navy beans for eight hours beforehand.
- 1 cup dried beans makes approximately 3 cups cooked beans, so plan the ingredients of your dish accordingly.
- Before cooking navy beans, wash them thoroughly and remove stones, debris or damaged beans, if any.
- Navy beans can be cooked on the stovetop as well as in the pressure cooker. The latter method is quicker.
- Never ever add salty or acidic seasonings to the navy beans, until after the beans have been cooked. Otherwise, they will not only become hard to eat, but also require more cooking time.