Benefits Of Navy Beans

Benefits Of Navy Beans:

Description

Navy beans are small, pea-sized beans that are creamy white in color. They are a mild-flavored bean that is dense and creamy.

Nutritional Benefits

When it comes to finding healthy ways to improve your daily menu, beans can be a very good option. These natural foods have a lot of the stuff that you need to function well, without a lot of the unwanted elements that are often found in processed foods, such as sugar, fat and sodium. Looking at the nutrition of navy beans versus other beans, or in contrast to other foods, can help you make good decisions about how to use these nutrient-packed natural foods in soups or prepared dishes for a better fitness meal plan.

Calorie Counting

A serving of about 180 grams of navy beans contains around 250 calories. That's more calories per gram than a lot of green vegetables and fresh produce. This calorie count even approaches the caloric value of some processed foods. Looking at the nutrients that navy beans contain, however, can show you how using these beans in moderation can be part of a good, wholesome meal. For example, a bean salad may use only half of this serving size, and can contain other ingredients for a better overall nutritional value.

Other Nutritional Facts

Navy beans are low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. There's only 1 gram of fat in a 180 gram serving, and no significant cholesterol or sodium. Be aware, though, that canning navy beans adds a huge amount of sodium. Make sure that you look at nutritional data for canned items to make sure you're not exceeding daily recommended levels of salt or sodium to prevent some kinds of health risks.

In addition, navy beans have some nutritional elements that you might want in your meals, like 15 grams of protein, or a significant 19 grams of dietary fiber, making navy beans similar to some of the "roughage" that helps process fats and other elements in your body. There's also 40 grams of carbohydrates in the same serving of beans, which is something that you might want to think about when making your diet plan. Medical opinions differ on the role of carbs in a diet, but generally, doctors recommend a moderate amount of carbohydrates in a diet.

Vitamins

Navy beans are a source of vitamin C and other nutrients like thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, an element that supports a healthy nervous system. There are also other minerals like phosphorus and manganese, and a whole lot of the folate that pregnant women need in their diets.

Overall, navy beans are a comparatively healthy natural food, although the carbs and calories can make them an unsuitable candidate for some diet plans. Keep looking for the right foods to fit into your fitness diet. You'll see how reading nutritional labels can pay off as part of an overall holistic wellness campaign that will increase your longevity and quality of life while helping you drop unwanted pounds.

Health Benefits

Navy beans are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, navy beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, navy beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. But this is far from all navy beans have to offer. Navy beans are a very good source of folate and manganese and a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, copper, magnesium and iron.

A Fiber All Star

Check a chart of the fiber content in foods and you'll see legumes leading the pack. Navy beans, like other beans, are rich in dietary fiber. A cup of cooked navy beans provides 76% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that combines with bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

Lower Your Heart Attack Risk

In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years. Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that higher legume consumption was associated with a whopping 82% reduction in heart attack risk!

Navy beans' contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate and magnesium these beans supply. Folate helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease, and are found in between 20-40% of patients with heart disease. It has been estimated that consumption of 100% of the daily value (DV) of folate would, by itself, reduce the number of heart attacks suffered by Americans each year by 10%. Just one cup of cooked navy beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate.

Navy beans' good supply of magnesium puts yet another plus in the column of its beneficial cardiovascular effects. Magnesium is Nature's own calcium channel blocker. When there is enough magnesium around, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart. Want to literally keep your heart happy? Eat navy beans--a one cup serving provides over 24%) of your daily needs for magnesium.

Potassium, an important electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and the contraction of all muscles including the heart, is another mineral that is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Navy beans are ready to promote your cardiovascular health by being a good source of this mineral, too. A one cup serving of navy beans provides 708 mg of potassium, making these beans an especially good choice to protect against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Navy Beans Give You Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar

In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, the dietary fiber found in navy beans helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, navy beans can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. One group ate the standard American Diabetic diet, which contained 24 grams of fiber/day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day.

Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both plasma glucose (blood sugar) and insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar get into cells). The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein--the most dangerous form of cholesterol) levels by 12.5%.

Iron for Energy

In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, navy beans can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Particularly for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency, boosting iron stores with navy beans is a good idea--especially because, unlike red meat, another source of iron, navy beans are low in calories and virtually fat-free. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. And remember: If you're pregnant or lactating, your needs for iron increase. Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron. A one cup serving of navy beans provides 24% of the daily recommended intake for iron.

Copper & Manganese More Help with Energy Production Plus Antioxidant Defenses

Navy beans are a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper, trace minerals that are essential cofactors of a key oxidative enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells).

Copper is also necessary for the activity of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme involved in cross-linking collagen and elastin, both of which provide the ground substance and flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.

As explained above, iron is primarily used as part of hemoglobin, the molecule responsible for transporting and releasing oxygen throughout the body. But hemoglobin synthesis also relies on copper. Without copper, iron cannot be properly utilized in red blood cells. Fortunately, Mother Nature supplies both minerals in navy beans. Just one cup of navy beans supplies 48% of the DV for manganese, 19% of the DV for copper, and 24% of the DV for iron.

Maintain Your Memory with Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

Thiamin participates in enzymatic reactions central to energy production and is also critical for brain cell/cognitive function. This is because thiamin is needed for the synthesis of acetylcholine, the important neurotransmitter essential for memory and whose lack has been found to be a significant contributing factor in age-related impairment in mental function (senility) and Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is clinically characterized by a decrease in acetylcholine levels. Don't forget to make navy beans a staple in your healthy diet: a one cup serving of navy beans provides 29% of the daily value for thiamin.

Protein Power Plus

If you're wondering how to replace red meat in your menus, become a fan of navy beans. These hearty beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fat found in these foods. And, when you get your protein from navy beans, you also get the blood sugar stabilizing and heart health benefits of the soluble fiber provided by these versatile legumes. A cup of navy beans provides 15.8 grams of protein--that's 31.7% of the daily value for protein.

Consumption Tips

  • To make the cooking process easier and digestion better, you can soak navy beans for eight hours beforehand.
  • 1 cup dried beans makes approximately 3 cups cooked beans, so plan the ingredients of your dish accordingly.
  • Before cooking navy beans, wash them thoroughly and remove stones, debris or damaged beans, if any.
  • Navy beans can be cooked on the stovetop as well as in the pressure cooker. The latter method is quicker.
  • Never ever add salty or acidic seasonings to the navy beans, until after the beans have been cooked. Otherwise, they will not only become hard to eat, but also require more cooking time.

Caution

Purines are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and humans. In some individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems, excessive intake of these substances can cause health problems. Since purines can be broken down to form uric acid, excess accumulation of purines in the body can lead to excess accumulation of uric acid. The health condition called "gout" and the formation of kidney stones from uric acid are two examples of uric acid-related problems that can be related to excessive intake of purine-containing foods. Yet, recent research has suggested that purines from meat and fish increase risk of gout, while purines from plant foods fail to change the risk.

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