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What Are Navy Beans? Their Benefits, Side Effects And Recipe

Navy beans are packed with minerals, vitamins, and essential proteins [1] . They belong to the pea family and the scientific name is Phaseolus vulgaris. They are often called as dry beans, haricot beans, pea beans, and dwarf beans as they are small, oval and enclosed with a thin white skin.

Navy beans take approximately three months to harvest. These plump beans possess many health benefits and they can be preserved for longer periods compared to other legumes or vegetables.

Nutritional Value Of Navy Beans

100 g of navy beans contain 337 kcal and 12.10 g of water. The remaining nutrients present in navy beans are as follows:

  • 364 mcg folate
  • 22.33 g protein
  • 60.75 g carbohydrate
  • 15.3 g dietary fibre
  • 147 mg calcium
  • 5.49 mg iron
  • 407 mg phosphorus
  • 175 mg magnesium
  • 5 mg sodium
  • 1185 mg potassium
  • 3.65 mg zinc
  • 2.18 mg vitamin B3

Health Benefits Of Navy Beans

1. Improve memory and cognition

Navy beans are rich in folate that help in the synthesis of neurotransmitters which is an important factor in memory and cognition. Consuming these small plump beans will provide an adequate amount of folate which prevents anaemia, neural tube defects, and other nervous system disorders. Its deficiency can raise homocysteine levels and cause neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease [2] .

2. Prevent cancer

Navy beans are filled with nutrients that help in preventing several common and chronic diseases. Studies show that including navy beans in your diet may help in preventing breast, colorectal [3] , and prostate cancer.

3. Aid diabetes

Navy beans contain a low glycemic index and high-fibre content [4] which help in stabilizing glucose levels and thus, prevent diabetes. If a person is already suffering from diabetes, consumption of navy beans will help control its symptoms.

4. Improve heart health

A higher level of HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol is essential to lower the risk of heart disease while higher level of homocysteine can increase the risk of a heart attack. Navy beans lift HDL cholesterol level and lower homocysteine level. Also, the magnesium present in them helps in reducing stress by relaxing the blood vessels and therefore, improves the heart health [5] .

5. Prevent oxidative stress

Manganese and copper are two antioxidants present in navy beans. Manganese lowers the risk of chronic diseases while copper helps in proper blood circulation and improving the overall flexibility of the body by preventing oxidative stress [6] .

6. Prevent constipation

Navy beans are packed with dietary fibre that help improve digestion, prevent constipation and improve irritable bowel syndrome [7] . The fibre present in it also helps prevent diarrhoea and gastric ulcers.

7. Improve blood circulation

Navy beans contain iron and copper that help in the synthesis of haemoglobin. They prevent anaemia, improve blood circulation and remove other weaknesses. Normal blood flow is essential for the oxygenation of organs and navy beans help in maintaining the process. [8] .

8. Promote growth and development

Navy beans contain a good amount of protein [9] and fibre that help in the growth and development of cells, muscles, bones, tissues, blood vessels, and other body parts. They also help in repairing damaged cells and tissues and speed up the healing process.

9. Improve skin health

The antioxidant nature of navy beans [6] helps to boost the skin health and neutralize the harmful compounds that cause damage to our skin.

10. Help to lose weight

Navy beans are a good source of fibre and fewer calories [4] . Fibre keeps our stomach full for a longer period and thus, consumption of navy beans will prevent us from having unhealthy fast foods.

20 Healthy Snacks to Curb Hunger

11. Delays ageing

Navy beans rejuvenate the skin and make it healthy. Its antioxidant property helps fight free radical damage that cause symptoms of premature ageing [6] . Navy beans make one look quite younger than their actual age.

12. Prevent osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bones become weak and brittle. The rich amount of folate, magnesium, and other essential nutrients in navy beans help in improving overall bone health and prevent them from breaking down [2] .

Note: Soak beans in cold water for at least 8 hours before cooking to reduce the phytate level.

13. Prevent inflammation

Copper is one of the main nutrients found in navy beans that help in preventing several inflammatory diseases like hepatitis, asthma and bowel disease. Its anti-inflammatory nature also helps in preventing autoimmune disorders [10] .

14. Reduce hair fall

Navy beans help vitalize hair and prevent hair fall. They are loaded with potassium and iron [8] which are important for hair growth. Navy beans consumption ensures the health and good condition of hair.

15. Improve liver health

Navy beans help to flush out the toxins from the liver and promote its health. As they are naturally high in nutrients and low in fat, they are easily digested by the body and help prevent many liver diseases [6] .

Dosage Of Navy Beans

The appropriate dosage of navy beans depends on several factors like the user's age, health, and other medical conditions. However, 35g/day of cooked navy beans is recommended to achieve 5-8% daily calorie intake. Half cup of navy beans per day can improve gastrointestinal distress [11] .

Side Effects Of Navy Beans

1. Too much intake of navy beans in a day can cause stomach cramping [12] .
2. Don't eat raw or undercooked navy beans as they contain lectin, which is toxic. Eating them raw can also lower the calcium absorbing ability of the body [12] .
3. People having a renal disease and the weak urinary system should not consume them.

Navy Beans Soup Recipe

Servings: 6-8


  • 2 cups dried navy beans
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 chopped onion/ 3 garlic cloves/ 2 bay leaves/ 2 cups sliced carrot
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Soak the beans for approximately 8 hours and drain them
  • Put 8 cups of water in a pan and combine the beans
  • Add all the chopped ingredients
  • Cook on the high-moderate flame until beans become easy to mash
  • Add salt and black pepper
  • Remove bay leaves and serve it hot
View Article References
  1. [1] Kerr, K. R., Forster, G., Dowd, S. E., Ryan, E. P., & Swanson, K. S. (2013). Effects of dietary cooked navy bean on the fecal microbiome of healthy companion dogs. PloS one, 8(9), e74998. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074998
  2. [2] Karakuła, H., Opolska, A., Kowal, A., Domański, M., Płotka, A., & Perzyński, J. (2009). Does diet affect our mood? The significance of folic acid and homocysteine. Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski: Organ Polskiego Towarzystwa Lekarskiego, 26(152), 136-141.
  3. [3] Borresen, E. C., Brown, D. G., Harbison, G., Taylor, L., Fairbanks, A., O'Malia, J., … Ryan, E. P. (2016). A Randomized Controlled Trial to Increase Navy Bean or Rice Bran Consumption in Colorectal Cancer Survivors. Nutrition and cancer, 68(8), 1269–1280. doi:10.1080/01635581.2016.1224370
  4. [4] Winham, D. M., Hutchins, A. M., & Thompson, S. V. (2017). Glycemic Response to Black Beans and Chickpeas as Part of a Rice Meal: A Randomized Cross-Over Trial. Nutrients, 9(10), 1095. doi:10.3390/nu9101095
  5. [5] Geil, P. B., & Anderson, J. W. (1994). Nutrition and health implications of dry beans: a review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 13(6), 549-558.
  6. [6] Reverri, E. J., Randolph, J. M., Steinberg, F. M., Kappagoda, C. T., Edirisinghe, I., & Burton-Freeman, B. M. (2015). Black Beans, Fiber, and Antioxidant Capacity Pilot Study: Examination of Whole Foods vs. Functional Components on Postprandial Metabolic, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, 7(8), 6139–6154. doi:10.3390/nu7085273
  7. [7] Baxter, B. A., Oppel, R. C., & Ryan, E. P. (2018). Navy Beans Impact the Stool Metabolome and Metabolic Pathways for Colon Health in Cancer Survivors. Nutrients, 11(1), 28. doi:10.3390/nu11010028
  8. [8] Petry, N., Boy, E., Wirth, J. P., & Hurrell, R. F. (2015). Review: The potential of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) as a vehicle for iron biofortification. Nutrients, 7(2), 1144–1173. doi:10.3390/nu7021144
  9. [9] Nosworthy, M. G., Neufeld, J., Frohlich, P., Young, G., Malcolmson, L., & House, J. D. (2017). Determination of the protein quality of cooked Canadian pulses. Food science & nutrition, 5(4), 896–903. doi:10.1002/fsn3.473
  10. [10] Zhang, C., Monk, J. M., Lu, J. T., Zarepoor, L., Wu, W., Liu, R., ... & Power, K. A. (2014). Cooked navy and black bean diets improve biomarkers of colon health and reduce inflammation during colitis. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(9), 1549-1563.
  11. [11] Borresen, E. C., Gundlach, K. A., Wdowik, M., Rao, S., Brown, R. J., & Ryan, E. P. (2014). Feasibility of Increased Navy Bean Powder Consumption for Primary and Secondary Colorectal Cancer Prevention. Current nutrition and food science, 10(2), 112–119. doi:10.2174/1573401310666140306005934
  12. [12] Donatucci, D. A., Liener, I. E., & Gross, C. J. (1987). Binding of navy bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) lectin to the intestinal cells of the rat and its effect on the absorption of glucose. The Journal of nutrition, 117(12), 2154-2160.
Story first published: Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 10:29 [IST]
Read more about: beans benefits
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