9 Benefits Of Navy Beans + How To Cook Them

Add this healthy legume to your daily diet and improve your overall immunity.

Medically reviewed by Anna Jones, MS, RD, LD/N Anna Jones Anna JonesMS, RD, LD/N facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
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Navy beans are known for their smooth texture. They are one among the 13,000 species of legumes and have a unique creamy white color. The benefits of navy beans can be attributed to their rich nutrition profile. The intake of navy beans may reduce heart disease risk, boost energy, improve memory, aid in diabetes management, and help with weight loss. This post discusses what are navy beans, its many benefits, and how you can take advantage of them. Continue reading to know more.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Navy Bean

What Is It?
A variety of common beans native to America.

What Are Its Benefits?
Improves overall skin and heart health, helps treat diabetes, and boosts memory and energy.

Who Can Use It?
Suitable for people who want to lose weight.

How Often?
Half a cup of beans per day.

Caution
Consuming it raw can lead to poisoning.

What Are Navy Beans? How Are They Good?

A bowl of boiled navy beans
Image: Shutterstock

As we saw, navy beans are legumes. And their name comes from the fact that they were a staple in the US Navy back in the 20th century. These beans have a low glycemic indexi  Foods that contain slow-digesting carbohydrates and lead to slower and lower increases in blood glucose and insulin levels. (ranging from 27 to 40%), which is good news for diabetics.

protip_icon Trivia
Navy beans are also known as pea bean, white pea bean, Boston bean, haricot, and pearl haricot bean for their flattened oval shape.

Their nutrient profile makes them exceptionally good for health. Navy beans are replete with fiber and other nutrients like manganese and folate. They also contain protein, iron, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and copper. There are other ways these beans can be beneficial for you. Let’s take a look at them now.

What Are The Benefits Of Navy Beans?

1. Cut Heart Disease Risk

Studies show the intake of navy beans can elevate the levels of good HDL cholesterol (1). The folate in navy beans lowers homocysteine levels – high levels of which lead to heart disease. They are also rich in magnesium, which relaxes the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

The fiber in navy beans is another big deal – it lowers cholesterol levels and paves the way for better heart health.

2. Navy Beans Boost Energy

The folate in the beans can be a good source of energy (2). And the fiber, which is so abundant in the beans, helps in converting food into energy efficiently.

3. Improve Memory

Navy beans improve memory
Image: Shutterstock

The folate the beans contain contributes to brain health and memory in a great way. They also have vitamin B1, which plays a role in cognitive function. This vitamin is crucial for the synthesis of acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter. Deficiency of this neurotransmitter can lead to Alzheimer’si  A neurologic condition that impairs a person's ability to perform daily tasks due to shrinkage and death of brain cells. and age-related cognitive decline.

Deficiency of folate has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’si  A progressive neurologic condition that damages nerves and as a result, causes uncontrollable movement, tremors and stiffness. .

4. Aid Diabetes Treatment

Navy beans aid diabetes treatment in two ways. One, they have a low glycemic index. And two, the fiber in them helps lower blood sugar levels. The protein in fiber also helps in this regard – it keeps blood sugar levels in check and eliminates fatigue that plagues individuals with high blood sugar levels.

The fiber in the beans also keeps you satiated – which means you won’t be eating as much as you did before. This can mean less intake of carbohydrates and consequently less glucose in the bloodstream.

5. Navy Beans Can Aid Weight Loss

Closeup of a woman's feet on a digital weighing machine
Image: Shutterstock

Beans are low in calories and high in fiber, which is why they can be a great addition to a weight loss diet. The proteins and resistant starch they contain also aid digestion, control appetite, and discourage overeating – ultimately contributing to weight loss.

6. Helps In Bodybuilding

Navy beans are great sources of protein and fiber – two bodybuilding essentials. Fiber helps with weight management. It also maintains proper insulin response, which is important for muscle growth. Fiber also helps in the absorption of various nutrients that are often ingested by bodybuilders.

7. Can Improve Skin Health

Navy beans benefits include improving skin health
Image: Shutterstock

The copper in the beans acts as an antioxidant and boosts skin health. It fights free radicals that can otherwise cause signs of premature aging.

8. May Reduce Cancer Risk

The consumption of black and navy beans has been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer (3). These beans, being high in fiber, aid digestion and regular bowel movements, which may consequently lower the risk of colorectal cancer. They also have antioxidants that may contribute to similar benefits. Further studies are ongoing for a deeper analysis and understanding of the role of navy beans in this aspect.

9. Helps Regulate Metabolism

Dietary navy beans may help regulate your metabolism. Research shows that regular consumption of canned navy beans significantly reduces obesity-related metabolic risk factors (4). This may also play a part in further alleviating other obesity-related health conditions.

These are the major ways navy beans can make your life easier. Simply include them in your diet, and you will only thank yourself. And yes, talking about that – how do you cook navy beans?

How To Cook Navy Beans

A bowl of navy bean soup with crackers
Image: Shutterstock

If you are using canned beans, ensure they are properly rinsed and drained before use.

And if you are using dried beans, soak them before you use them in cooking. You can rinse the beans, cover them with an inch of cold water and let them soak at room temperature for an entire night. Drain and rinse before using.

Soaked beans usually cook for about 60 minutes. You can use three cups of water for each cup of uncooked beans. You may also season the beans to make them taste good – add bay leaves or garlic cloves or herb sprigs to the cooking water. You can also add a pinch of salt to the beans while cooking to enhance their flavor further.

We have one popular recipe for you. Let’s check it out!

Navy Bean Soup

What You Need
  • 1 16-ounce pack of dried navy beans
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • ½ pound of chopped ham
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of water
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
Directions
  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, in a stockpot. Lower the heat and cover and simmer for about 2 hours.
  2. Now, add a little more water. Season with the salt and pepper and simmer for two more hours. You can discard the bay leaf.

You can also include navy beans in your evening salad.

Kathy Sheehan, a blogger, shares a cherished family recipe, navy beans and ham, that holds sentimental value. She says, “I remember spending the night at my grandmother Gaga’s apartment (fondly called “the pink palace”) where we would share a warm, comforting meal of her delicious navy beans and ham soup (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can cook Southwestern navy bean soup, pasta salad with navy beans and corn, navy bean skillet, and kale and navy bean pizza, among other delicious food items.

Infographic: 7 Reasons To Consume Navy Beans

uring the mid-18th century, US Navy sailors actively and extensively used navy beans, earning them their name. These beans were popular due to their high nutritional value, affordable cost, and ease of storage. They are rich in nutrients that greatly benefit your health. Check out the infographic below to learn the top benefits of eating navy beans.

7 reasons to consume navy beans (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Navy beans are highly nutritious legumes and make for a healthy addition to your diet. Low in calories and high in fiber, proteins, and minerals, these beans may promote satiety. They are a good option to add to your weight loss diet or improve your cardiovascular health and overall immunity. Additionally, they may help with cancer prevention and promote bone health. However, there are no human studies to support this claim. With a low glycemic index, navy beans help regulate your blood sugar levels as well. Canned beans should be rinsed before use while the dry ones need to be soaked well before cooking to get the most of navy beans’ benefits. Soups, salads, or stews, navy beans make for a tasty and versatile addition to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of eating too many navy beans?

Since navy beans are rich in fiber, eating too many of them can cause cramping – as the fiber remains undigested in the gut. These beans can also cause flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation.

How many navy beans can you eat in a day?

Eating about half a cup of the beans should suffice. Not more.

What is a good substitute for navy beans?

You can substitute navy beans with any other white beans. These include flageolets, white kidney beans, great northern beans, and cannellini beans.

Can you eat raw navy beans?

NO. Beans contain lectins, and these are toxic when the beans are raw or undercooked.

Where can you buy navy beans?

You can get them from your nearest supermarket or online.

Are navy beans anti-inflammatory?

Yes, beans have fermentable nondigestible compounds and phenolic compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help reduce colonic inflammation (5).

Are navy beans good for your liver?

Yes. Bean consumption has been associated with a lower risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver (6).

Do navy beans have estrogen?

There is currently a lack of evidence that suggests that navy beans have estrogen.

Which is healthier: navy beans or kidney beans?

Navy beans and kidney beans are cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Hence, both beans have a similar nutritional value and can be substituted for each other (7), (8).

Key Takeaways

  • Navy beans have nutrients such as protein, magnesium, copper, and vitamin B1.
  • They help boost energy, improve memory, and aid in weight loss.
  • Navy beans improve skin health and delay the signs of aging.
  • They can also manage blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
navy beans benefits

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Eating navy beans may actually help you lose weight. Watch this informative video and learn how to incorporate it into your diet for the best results.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. A pilot randomized controlled clinical…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  2. B Vitamins and the Brain…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Consumption of black beans and navy beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) reduced azoxymethane-induced colon cancer in rats”, US National Library of Medicine
  4. Canned Navy Bean Consumption Reduces Metabolic Risk Factors Associated with Obesity”, US National Library of Medicine
  5. Cooked navy and black…” US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Legume intake and risk of…” US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Beans, Dry, Navy” Food Data Central.
  8. Beans, Dry, Dark Red Kidney” Food Data Central.
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Anna Jones
Anna JonesMS, RD, LD/N
Anna is a Registered Dietitian who is truly passionate about helping people make healthy, lasting lifestyle changes through balanced, nutrient rich nutrition and increased physical activity. She earned both her Bachelor and Masters degree in Health and Nutrition and has over 15 years of experience in the field of health and wellness.

Read full bio of Anna Jones
Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Ravi Teja TadimallaSenior Editor
Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a senior editor and a published author. He has been in the digital media field for over eight years. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University.

Read full bio of Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Arshiya Syeda
Arshiya SyedaSenior Editor
Arshiya Syeda is a senior editor at StyleCraze with 7 years of experience. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and research skills to write over 200 high-performing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and skin care.

Read full bio of Arshiya Syeda
Sindhu Koganti
Sindhu KogantiSenior Health & Wellness Writer
Sindhu Koganti is a Certified Health and Nutrition Life Coach and has over 6 years of experience in writing on health and wellness topics. She has a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, and a diploma in nutrition from Fab Academy.

Read full bio of Sindhu Koganti