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Back in the early 20th century, the navy bean was the main staple food for the U.S. Navy. Filling and high in nutrients, it helped to keep members of the Navy healthy, agile and strong. Today, the navy bean is a popular ingredient of savory meals.
Navy Bean Nutritional Value
Apart from making delicious baked beans, navy beans offer an impressive range of nutrients. High in everything from fiber to iron, they are nutritional powerhouses with the potential to prevent and treat many diseases.
If you have trouble keeping your blood sugar in check, adding navy beans to your diet can do a world of good. Not only do they help with insulin resistance, the beans also provide steady, sustainable energy.
Navy beans boast a combination of fiber and protein that keeps you full and satisfied for longer. While protein suppresses the appetite, fiber slows down gastric emptying for a truly filling meal. In addition to curbing hunger, protein also stubs carb cravings and builds muscle.
Navy bean is an excellent source of another important nutrient: vitamin B1. This vitamin is associated with brain function. Healthy amounts are known for improving memory and general cognitive performance.
If your immune system is not at its best, navy beans can help by providing copper, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. These nutrients act as antioxidants, sweeping your body clean of free radicals. They are also known for boosting energy, strengthening bone and improving nerve function.
How to Choose Navy Beans
Canned varieties are available in many grocery stores. However, dried navy beans are the healthiest option. Before foods are canned, manufacturers need to alter the chemical composition for longer shelf life, which often means stripping them of nutrients too.
How to Cook Navy Beans
Like all legumes, navy beans need to be thoroughly washed and soaked overnight before cooking. A great tip is to lay the beans out on a tray or plate to remove dirt and debris. If you can’t soak them overnight, place them in a pot of water, boil for 2 minutes and let the beans sit for 2 hours.
The easiest way to prepare the beans is to boil them on a stovetop. Pour enough water to cover the beans by 1-2 inches, season the water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. You can replace water with broth for stronger flavor.
If you have a pressure cooker at home, you can put it to good use. Cook navy beans for an hour or more for best results. Keep in mind that beans might take longer to cook in pressure cookers. If you are short on time, the stovetop method is best.
Navy Bean Recommended Intake
Having navy beans for lunch or supper now and then is good. However, overconsumption can increase your levels of purines. Purines are compounds the body converts into uric acid. If uric acid levels are too high, they may cause kidney problems. Keep your intake moderate to protect your health.