Aside learning how to cook navy beans, you should as well know that although Navy beans appear commonplace or insignificant, they have many health benefits. Some of the benefits of navy beans includes:
- their ability to boost cognition and memory
- protect the heart, optimize digestion
- promote healthy circulation
- reduce the risk of cancer
- stimulate growth, and
- lower diabetes risk. etc
In this article, you will learn how to cook navy beans and navy beans benefits.
What then are Navy Beans?
Navy beans has been variedly described. Navy beans are those common small, white beans that get creamy when cooked and are excellent in soups and stews. They are small, dry, white, and have a slightly flattened oval shape.
Scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, navy beans also go by the name haricot bean or pea bean. Common preparations for navy beans include baked bean dishes, pies, and soups. Also, eating navy beans can aid lessen your cholesterol. They are rich in nutrients like ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid, and they have cancer fighting properties as well.
These special beans are found throughout the Americas and Africa. Growing on either bushes or vines, these beans are very popular throughout the world and are not only admired for their adaptability and ease of growth but also their nutritive value.
The name ‘Navy bean’ is derived from their prevalent use by the United States Navy, who used the beans as a staple part of a healthy diet for sailors. You can find navy beans across the world now, in a variety of cultivars, and they are extremely easy to grow and hardy.
Due to the potentially high nutritive value of navy beans and their protein content, they have become staple foods in many different cultures and can be stored for long periods of time or canned without losing their nutritional value, unlike many other vegetables or legumes. While it may seem like all beans have the same components, that isn’t exactly true. Navy beans do possess definite unique chemical components, such as phosphatidylserine.
Now let’s proceed to show you how to cook navy beans…
Nutrition Facts of Navy beans
A 100g Serving Size of navy beans contains:
- Water [g] 79.15
- Energy 67
- Energy [kJ] 280
- Protein [g] 15
- Total lipid (fat) [g] 7
- Ash [g] 95
- Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 05
- Calcium, Ca [mg] 15
- Iron, Fe [mg] 93
- Magnesium, Mg [mg] 101
- Phosphorus, P [mg] 100
- Potassium, K [mg] 307
- Sodium, Na [mg] 13
- Zinc, Zn [mg] 89
- Copper, Cu [mg] 36
- Manganese, Mn [mg] 41
- Selenium, Se [µg] 6
- Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg] 8
- Thiamin [mg] 39
- Riboflavin [mg] 22
- Niacin [mg] 22
- Pantothenic acid [mg] 83
- Vitamin B-6 [mg] 19
- Folate, total [µg] 132
- Folate, food [µg] 132
- Folate, DFE [µg] 132
- Vitamin A, IU [IU] 4
- Fatty acids, total saturated [g] 09
- Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 05
- Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 41
- Tryptophan [g] 06
- Threonine [g] 26
- Isoleucine [g] 27
- Leucine [g] 44
- Lysine [g] 35
- Methionine [g] 06
- Cystine [g] 07
- Phenylalanine [g] 31
- Tyrosine [g] 21
- Valine [g] 32
- Arginine [g] 34
- Histidine [g] 17
- Alanine [g] 26
- Aspartic acid [g] 8
- Glutamic acid [g] 75
- Glycine [g] 21
- Proline [g] 25
- Serine [g] 33
Health Benefits of Navy Beans
The health benefits of navy beans include:
- Navy beans may Improve Memory and Cognition
- May Have Anticancer Potential
- May Improve Heart Health
- It Aid with Diabetes Prevention
- May Lead to Improved Digestion
- May Have Antioxidant Properties
- It Aid in Growth and Repair
- May Lead to Better Blood Circulation
Navy Beans Improve Memory and Cognition
Folate is a key nutrient for many different reasons within the body, including the prevention of neural tube defects and anemia, but it also affects the nervous system in a meaningful way. A deficiency of folate has been directly linked to an increase in homocysteine levels, which can often lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, one of the B vitamins found in navy beans, thiamin, can help to increase certain neurotransmitters we need for memory and cognition, so these little legumes can also keep our memory sharp as we age.
May Have Anticancer Potential
The latest research shows that consuming navy beans can lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Moreover, a study published in the Current Nutrition and Food Science journal revealed that the dietary fiber in navy bean powder has the potential to prevent colorectal cancer.
Research by the National Cancer Institute, USA suggests that there are certain soluble and insoluble fractions in cooked navy beans that aid in lowering your risk of cancer.
Studies conducted over a period of time also indicate that including common beans like navy beans in your meals is a healthy way of protecting yourself from colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
May Improve Heart Health
Magnesium and folate team up in navy beans to keep the heart strong and protected. Folate may decrease levels of homocysteine, which is a dangerous precursor to heart disease, while magnesium functions in a similar way as potassium, reducing tension and stress in the blood vessels to lessen exertion and lower blood pressure, thus preventing heart attacks and strokes.
It Aid with Diabetes Prevention
Possibly high-fiber foods have long been praised for their impact on diabetes, due to its potential ability to stabilize blood sugar levels and improve the absorption of nutrients from the gut. With glucose and insulin levels maintained at healthy levels, you are far less likely to develop diabetes, and if you are already suffering from this condition, the high fiber in navy beans can help you manage your symptoms.
Navy Beans May Lead to Improved Digestion
As mentioned, navy beans are extremely high in fiber, which is a key component to good gastrointestinal health. Fiber is able to bulk up the stool and prevent symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Furthermore, fiber makes bowel movements more normalized by stimulating peristaltic motion. A good fiber diet cleans the intestines and prevents more serious gastrointestinal issues like gastric ulcers.
May Have Antioxidant Properties
Manganese isn’t a mineral you often hear about, but it is a key cofactor in many antioxidant enzymes that can prevent the spread and impact of free radicals. This can help to lower your risk of chronic illness. Secondly, copper plays an important role as an enzyme cofactor as well and can help to stimulate blood flow, joint mobility, and overall flexibility by cutting back on oxidative stress in those areas.
It Aid in Growth and Repair
One of the most notable and important aspects of navy beans is their high content of protein. Proteins are the building blocks of all life, and we need a steady stream for the growth of new cells, tissues, muscles, bones, blood vessels, and every other part of our body. Protein is essential for normal development, but also in the function of repairing damaged areas of the body and speeding the healing process. For vegetarians, navy beans are an excellent alternative source of protein, with more than 15 grams of protein in a single cup!
May Lead to Better Blood Circulation
Keeping the blood flowing normally in our body is obviously important for the oxygenation of our organ systems and normal overall function. Iron is a key component of red blood cells, and without proper iron intake, your circulation suffers, making you susceptible to anemia, weakness, bone mineral loss, fatigue, and poor circulation. Copper is also very important in this regard, as it is necessary for the synthesis of hemoglobin. In other words, without copper, iron is practically useless in the body. Navy beans, fortunately, contain high levels of both.
Ingredients for cooking navy beans
Before showing you how to cook navy beans, let’s look at the ingredients used to prepare the beans.
Navy beans ingredients incluse:
- 1 lb (.45 kg) of dry navy beans
- 1 small onion
- one stalk celery
- Several cloves garlic
- Olive oil
- Tomatoes (romas or cherry tomatoes; canned chopped ones are also OK)
- Few slices of pancetta or bacon (optional)
How to Cook Navy beans
- Pick out bad beans
- Rinse your beans
- Prepare the dried navy beans by soaking them
- Simmer your beans until tender
- Chop up your ingredients
- Mix in some pancetta or chopped bacon
- Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil
- Add your tomato(es)
- Add the beans
- Simmer the beans and other ingredients, if necessary
- Garnish and serve your navy beans
Part 1 – Ready the Beans
Pick out bad beans
Mixed in with your dry navy beans may be stones or discolored kernels . Discoloration is usually a sign that the bean isn’t fit for consumption, so you should remove these along with stones from the good beans.
Canned navy beans can be prepared more easily than dry beans. You’ll only have to cook these lightly for a short time with your ingredients and then the beans will be ready for eating.
For the purposes of providing a guided example, the process of making navy beans on the stove top is provided. However, you may find making your beans in a slow cooker to be a preferred method.
Rinse your beans
Get a large pot or bowl and place the good beans inside of it. Then run cold water over the beans to remove any impurities or bacteria from the surface of the beans. When you’ve finished this, you can use a strainer to remove the dirty water from the beans in your bowl/pot.
Prepare the dried navy beans by soaking them
Put your rinsed beans back into the bowl/pot and cover them completely with cold water. For every pound (.45 kg) of beans, you should use eight cups of cold water. Then allow the beans to soak for a minimum of eight hours or overnight.
When you soak navy beans, enzymes inside the bean are broken down. This will decrease gas.
Simmer your beans until tender
First you’ll need to strain your beans from the cold water they’ve been soaking in. Then put the beans into a pot and cover them with six cups of hot water for every pound (.45 kg) of beans. Turn on your stove and bring the water to a boil and then simmer the beans for 1.5 to 2 hours.
You can adjust the time you simmer your beans to adjust the tenderness of your beans. Shorter simmer times will yield firmer beans, longer times will result in more tender beans.
While simmering, it’s likely a foam will form on the top of your water. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil to the water to cut down on foam.
Wait until the beans are completely cooked before adding any salt. Adding salt earlier interferes with the re-hydration process and can result in “tough” beans.
Part 2 – Preparing the Ingredients for a Simple Navy Bean Dish
Chop up your ingredients
Use a sharpened knife to cut a small onion, stalk of celery, several cloves of garlic, and tomatoes. These will be used to give flavor and variety in your simple navy bean dish. You can cut up these ingredients very finely to create a smoother consistency, or you could leave larger pieces for a chunkier end result.
Roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes work well in this dish. Heirloom tomatoes can add a delicious, rich flavor to it.
Mix in some pancetta or chopped bacon
All you need is a few slices for your dish, though if you’re a fan of this kind of meat, you can always add more. If you’re not a fan of pancetta or bacon, you could add chopped chicken or sausage.
Whatever meat you add, be sure you saute it until it is cooked throughout. Thicker, chunkier pieces of meat will require more time than thin pieces.
Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil
Coat your saucepan with a thin layer of olive oil. Then turn on your stove top and set it to a medium-high heat. Add your onion, celery, and garlic to the pan and allow the ingredients to cook for 3 – 5 minutes.
Continue cooking your ingredients, lowering the heat if necessary, until the onions and bacon are well browned.
If you notice your garlic start to brown, turn your heat down or begin the next phase of this dish. When cooked too long/burned, garlic can become bitter.
Add your tomato(es)
These will cook down in the heat of your pan. The tomato juice and flavor will also infuse through the rest of your dish. You can also create more nuanced flavors by adding spices and seasonings, like rosemary or thyme.
Part 3 – Finishing Your Simple Navy Bean Dish
Add the beans
By cooking your beans with your ingredients, the beans will take on the flavor of the dish. This will only take about a minute or so. After a minute has passed, if you want to further tenderize your beans, you should add enough water to cover the beans with at least an inch (2.5 cm) of water.
You can add as many or as few beans as you desire to this dish.
Simmer the beans and other ingredients, if necessary
If your beans are already cooked to your desired tenderness, you might not want to re-simmer the beans with the ingredients for very long. However, for further tenderness, you should first bring your ingredients to a boil. Then lower the heat until the mixture is at a simmer and allow it to simmer until the beans are tender.
During this process, you may need to add water to the mixture if you notice it getting too low.
Garnish and serve your navy beans
When the beans are tender they are ready to serve. You may want to add some accents to the dish to improve its presentation. You can do this by topping it with some freshly chopped parsley, or even a sprig of parsley.
Try other navy bean recipes
There are many ways you can prepare your navy beans. With 15 minutes of prep time and about 4½ hours of slow simmering, you could make homemade navy bean soup. Pork is a popular accent meat for navy beans, and you might consider making ham hocks with your navy beans in a slow cooker.
Many recipes are available online for free. To explore more options for navy bean recipes, you should try doing a keyword search for “navy bean recipes” or “how to cook navy beans”.
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