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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Beans and Legumes >>  Navy Beans

Navy Beans

Navy beans are pea-sized small creamy white beans that have been the staple food in the early 20th century for United States Navy. Dried and canned navy beans are available throughout the year. Navy beans have a mild flavor and a smooth texture and are ideal for preparing baked beans. Navy beans when combined with whole cereals like rice provide negligible fat and high quality protein.

Health benefits of navy beans

Navy beans are rich in cholesterol lowering fiber that helps lower cholesterol by binding with bile and eliminating it from the body. Besides lowering cholesterol, fiber from navy beans also helps to control blood sugar levels (navy beans like other legumes have a low glycemic index) in people with irregular glucose metabolism like in diabetes, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance.
Navy beans may help to maintain the blood sugar levels by slowly burning the energy and providing steady amounts of glucose to the blood. The insoluble fiber content in navy beans helps to relieve constipation by increasing the stool bulk and may also prevent gastrointestinal disorders like diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Besides fiber navy beans is also a good source of folate, magnesium, manganese, thiamin, iron, copper and phosphorous.

Navy beans lower the risk of getting a heart attack and death from other coronary heart diseases. Researchers found that including legumes as a part of a healthy diet is associated with 82 % reduction in the risk of heart diseases and especially navy beans in diet significantly lowers both LDL and total cholesterol in the body.

Folate along with magnesium helps to keep the levels of homocysteine in check, as an increase value is associated with a risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium is also a natural calcium channel blocker and helps improve blood flow throughout the body. A cup of cooked navy beans provide 63.7% of the daily value for folate and 26.8% of the daily value for magnesium. Many studies prove that magnesium deficiency is not only related to heart attack but also promotes free radical damage to the heart following a heart attack. Potassium from navy beans is important to maintain normal blood pressure as well as is involved in nerve transmission and contraction of muscles including heart. Iron from navy beans helps to replenish the low stores in the body and is especially important for menstruating women who are at high risk of anemia. Thiamin form navy beans helps to maintain the memory as it is involved in various enzymatic reactions necessary for cognitive function. Manganese and copper from navy beans are essential trace minerals and serves as a cofactor for superoxide dismutase, an oxidative enzyme. Copper is also important for the activity of the enzyme lysyl oxidase that is involved in the process of cross-linking of elastin and collagen. Besides iron, copper is also an important mineral in the synthesis of hemoglobin and iron cannot be utilized properly without copper in the red blood cells.
Submitted on January 16, 2014