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Navy beans are small, pea-sized beans in creamy white in color. They are mild-flavored beans that are dense and smooth. It got its current popular name because it was a staple food of the United States Navy in the early 20th century. There are numerous alternate names for haricot beans including Boston beans, navy beans, pearl haricots, and fagioli.
These nutritious beans are available all year through in dried form or canned, click here to know more
One cup of navy beans contains 64 percent of the recommended value of folate required by the body. Folate plays a critical role in the regulation of specific amino acids that the nervous system requires. Studies have shown that deficiency of dietary folate can increase the levels of homocysteine, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, thiamin provided by navy beans also promotes for brain cell/cognitive function mainly by controlling acetylcholine levels which if unchecked can lead to age-related impairment in mental function.
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The folate in navy beans is also used to lowers the levels of homocysteine in the blood, decreasing the risk factors of heart attack, stroke or peripheral vascular disease. Also magnesium and potassium minerals are found in the navy beans in generous quantity. Magnesium helps the blood vessels optimally relaxed and improves blood flow in the body. potassium is needed by your heart to optimally contract as it pumps blood to the rest of your body.
Navy beans are also a good source of manganese and copper, which is an essential cofactor in some enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant activities. These enzymes called superoxide dismutase, neutralize free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), and require the minerals for proper functioning.
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They have high content of potassium and a low content of sodium. One cup of navy beans contains an amazing 708 milligrams of potassium, vis a vis 0 milligrams of sodium. This helps the blood vessels relax and maintains proper blood pressure. Also the already mentioned folate helps to keep the blood vessels free of damage caused by a buildup of homocysteine thereby maintaining a free flow of circulation in the system.
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Navy beans are an excellent source of fiber, containing 19 grams of dietary soluble fiber per cup. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. Dietary fiber can help prevent constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach cramps, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal related problems by regularizing the bowel movement.
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These beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as whole wheat or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods sans the high calories or saturated fat found in meat or dairy products. One cup of navy beans provides almost 15 grams of protein, making it a great protein source for vegetarians. Navy beans contain all the essential amino acids that are needed by our body for good muscle-building and for other metabolic functions of the body.
Protein is important for body’s metabolic functions, click here to know
An excellent choice for people who need/ want to limit their gluten and dairy intake is the is the nutrient-dense navy bean. Navy beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, so they are helpful in regulating the blood sugar and insulin levels. Navy beans are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar crashes, sugar cravings, and mood swings. This is helpful for diabetic and borderline diabetic people.
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Vegetarians in particular should use navy beans extensively, and it can supplement their dietary needs. Dry or canned navy beans are available year-round in prepackaged containers as well as in tins.
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