Navy beans (scientific name Phaseolus vulgaris) are a sub-species of white beans belonging to the Fabaceae family of legumes. These beans are among the most preferred bean varieties by people in North America as well as in Europe owing to their vigorous nutritional properties.
The size of navy beans is similar to that of peas and they can be used in preparing various dishes. These beans are very common and are known by various names such as Boston beans, haricot beans, Yankee beans and pea beans. Navy beans have a close relationship with the larger white beans like cannelloni beans and Great Northern beans. In most markets, you will typically find navy beans in canned form as well as dried. These beans can be easily grown in your garden provided you have some room for them.
People around the world have been cultivating beans since the ancient times and among all the bean varieties, white beans are the most common as well as preferred. These beans are highly nutritious and are usually loaded with dietary fiber and protein. In addition, navy beans often contain elevated levels of trace minerals like magnesium. This makes the navy beans a wonderful dietary supplement. Moreover, growing bean plants also benefits your garden because they are known as "nitrogen fixers". In other words, these plants add valuable nitrogen to the soil, thereby improving the condition of the soil they are grown in.
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Navy beans have a somewhat mild flavour, while its texture has a propensity to be dense to a certain extent. These beans are commonly called "navy beans" owing to the fact that there was a time when these beans were extensively included in the staple supplies of the United States Navy. This is primarily because when they are dried, they can be stored for a long period and they provide the body with excellent nutrition. There are several classical bean dishes in America that require navy beans or Boston beans. As a result, they are very popular and well-liked. For instance, Boston baked beans are prepared with navy beans.
If you buy canned navy beans, it is essential that you rinse them properly before use. In fact, tipping the navy beans out into a colander and placing them under running cool water for a couple of minutes is best way to clean them before cooking. Although navy beans in cans are ready to use and you just need to heat them before consumption, putting these canned beans in slow stewing will make it better. On the other hand, if you purchase any variety of dried beans, you should rinse them properly and pick and throw out the small stones or bean stalk if there are any and then soak them in normal water overnight. This treatment is necessary for dried beans prior to cooking them. Subject to the cooking method you apply, dried beans will usually take several hours to cook properly even after they are rinsed and soaked overnight.
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It is quite easy to grow navy beans and if you wish to grow them in your garden, you need to select a protected spot that receives plenty of sunlight. Before you plant the seeds or starters, you need to work on the soil by adding some mulch and compost to make it suitable for growing navy beans. In case you live in a colder region, you may even grow the bean plants indoors during the onset of spring and later move them outdoors once the last date of frost in your area has passed. As the plants start growing, support them with stakes, as this will encourage the plants to raise their vines from the ground with a view to put off rotting. If you want to use the beans as whole green beans you may harvest them when they turn green. Alternatively, you may allow the plants to die and dry out towards the close of summer and collect the dried beans and store them for later use.
Navy beans are loaded with antioxidants providing us with several health benefits. In other words, consumption of navy beans helps to protect you from many health problems and, at the same time, perk up your immune system. It is worth mentioning here again that when you have a higher immune system it means you are unlikely to suffer from several health issues, especially fall ill with a cold or any other problem.
For many people, skincare is of top beauty main concern. In fact, you can improve the health of your skin in many ways, and consuming navy beans is one among them. This is because navy beans contain good amount of copper, which aids in collagen production. You must be aware that collagen is responsible for making your skin look youthful. Hence, consumption of navy beans is likely to aid in restoring a youthful glow and, at the same time, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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Precisely speaking, navy beans are loaded with copper. Only one serving of these beans provides us with nearly 50 percent of an adult's daily recommended amount of copper. This mineral is also essential for our body because it aids in maintaining a smooth metabolic process. If the metabolic process is inhibited, it may result in unwanted weight gain. On the other hand, consuming sufficient amounts of navy beans helps to prevent weight gain and obesity.
People who usually have a poor diet suffer from blood pressure problems. In fact, you need to have a healthy diet to keep your blood pressure under control. Consumption of navy beans may help you in avoiding problems related to blood pressure. These beans are highly beneficial because they contain elevated levels of potassium, but low levels of sodium. Eating navy beans regularly over a period of time will help to normalize the blood pressure levels.
Folate or vitamin B9 is a vital nutrient necessary for various functions in our body, which includes preventing neural defects in fetus and anemia, especially in pregnant women. At the same time, folate also has a positive effect on the nervous system. Folate deficiency is said to be directly associated with enhanced levels of homocysteine in the body. When the homocysteine levels are enhanced, it may often result in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. In addition, another B vitamin found in navy beans is thiamine, which aids in enhancing the activities of specific neurotransmitters, especially those that are required for a good memory.
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Folate and magnesium present in navy beans work in tandem to protect the heart and keep it strong and healthy. Folate works to reduce the levels of homocysteine - a precarious precursor to heart disease. Similarly, magnesium works to reduce tension and stress within the blood vessels. In fact, magnesium functions in the same manner as potassium. Therefore, when there is less exertion on the blood vessels and the blood pressure is lower, it helps to prevent the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Since long, people have praised foods that have rich dietary fiber content owing to their positive impact on diabetes. Dietary fiber helps to keep the blood sugar levels stable and, at the same time, enhances the absorption of nutrients present in ingested foods from the gut. When the levels of glucose and insulin are stable, the chances of developing diabetes are greatly reduced. On the other hand, people who are already suffering from diabetes will find navy beans, which are loaded with dietary fiber, useful in dealing with their symptoms.
As discussed earlier, navy beans or Boston beans contain very high amounts of dietary fiber, which is a vital component for a healthy gastrointestinal system. Fiber not only adds bulk to stool, but also ensures its smooth passage through the digestive tract, thereby preventing the symptoms related to diarrhea and constipation. In addition, dietary fiber stimulates peristaltic motion thereby making the bowel movement normal. A diet that comprises enough dietary fiber helps to cleanse the intestines and simultaneously prevents the risks of developing serious gastrointestinal problems such as gastric ulcers.
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Aside from the above-mentioned nutritional contents of navy beans, they contain high amounts of proteins, which are considered to be the building blocks of all living organisms. We require a constant supply of proteins to ensure cell growth as well as development of tissues, muscles, blood vessels, bones and other part of our body. In fact, protein is essential for normal development of the body. In addition, protein also helps in repairing the damaged body parts and also to speed up the body's healing process. Navy beans are an excellent substitute of proteins, especially for vegetarians. A serving of one cup of navy beans provides our body with about 15 percent of our daily requirement for protein.
Maintaining a normal blood circulation throughout the body is certainly important because it facilitates supply of oxygen to all our organs and the extremities, thereby ensuring that they function optimally. Iron is an important component of the red blood cells (erythrocytes). Inadequate intake of iron will negatively impact our blood circulation, making us vulnerable to various health conditions including anemia, debility, fatigue, poor circulation and loss of bone mineral. Copper is another mineral that is equally vital in this regard since it is essential for synthesizing hemoglobin. This means that in the absence of copper, iron is basically of no use in our body. We are fortunate that navy beans or haricot beans contain sufficient amounts of both these essential minerals.