What are navy beans?
They are small, pea-sized beans that are mildly flavoured and creamy white in colour. These legumes were popular during the early 20th century when they were the staple food of the United States Navy. This is also how they got their name from. They provide virtually fat-free and high quality protein.
According to these proven health benefits, these beans are a go-to for your child’s diet. Let us look at a few of the benefits.
Read More: 11 Health Benefits of Pinto Beans for Babies
7 Must Know Benefits of Navy Beans
Improve your memory with navy bean nutrients
It is important for children in their growing stage to strength their memory. Navy beans aid in this process as they contribute to brain health and memory in a great way. They possess the Vitamin B1 which plays a major role in our everyday cognitive functions. This Vitamin is a crucial for the synthesis of acetylcholine which is an essential neurotransmitter, and the deficiency of which could eventually lead to Alzheimer’s. These beans are rich source of two different B vitamins which help convert our food into energy to keep our metabolism humming. Navy beans are also complex carbohydrates that release their energy slowly into the blood stream while stabilizing blood sugar levels, unlike refined carbs, like sugar, which provide an instant rush of energy.
Read More: 11 Health Benefits of Lima Beans for Kids
Navy beans are high in protein and fibre which are the two most crucial factors that aid the growth of your child’s body. Fibre helps maintain normal weight as well as proper insulin response which are important for muscle growth.
It is an excellent source of Iron
Iron is one of the most essential minerals that keep energy levels up by transporting oxygen throughout the body. One cup of Navy beans is equivalent to 24% of our daily Iron intake. Introducing meals such as navy bean soup to your child’s diet can give them the Iron intake that their bodies require on a day to day basis.
Read More: 11 Health Benefits of Adzuki Beans for Kids
Copper and Magnesium
Navy beans contain copper which helps the body produce collagen, a protein that gives the skin strength and elasticity. A cup of navy beans a day would produce one fifth of the copper the body requires. This copper also acts as an antioxidant which helps boost skin health in your child as they grow older. Copper plays a major role in haemoglobin synthesis, a process which helps to transport oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body. These beans also provide the body with magnesium which is an essential mineral, along with copper that acts as a co-factor of a key enzyme known as superoxide dismutase. This enzyme disarms the free radicals produced within the energy production factories in our cells known as mitochondria. In short, these minerals are essential to the smooth functioning of our bodies.
Power packed with protein
A cup of navy bean is equal to 15 grams of protein which makes it a great source or protein for vegetarians as well as children who may be allergic to red meat. It contains all the essential amino acids that help muscle growth. So if you are wondering how to replace your red meat, this is a great alternative for both you and your kids.
Read More: Health Benefits of Sprouts for Children
Navy beans, also known as legumes have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks by 82% when compared to other nutritional foods such as cereal, soy products or fish. It also contains a significant amount of folate which helps lower the homocysteine which is an amino acid and also a part of the metabolic process known as the methylation cycle. An elevated level of homocysteine is an independent risk factor of heart attacks, strokes or peripheral vascular disease, and is found in between 20-40% of patients with heart disease.
Blood sugar stability
Dietary fibres found in navy beans help stabilise the blood sugar levels. They also have a low glycaemic index which is a benefit for kids with type A diabetes. Consuming navy beans is a good way to stabilise blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow burning energy.
Adding Navy beans to your diet
The most available source of navy beans is canned beans. While using canned beans, it is important to ensure that the beans are thoroughly washed and soaked before use. Ideally you should soak your beans in cold water over night. Soaked beans usually cook for about 60 minutes. You would need to use three cups of water for every cup of uncooked beans. Adding spices and herbs like bay leaves or garlic to the cooking water can enhance the flavour of the dish. The best known Navy bean recipe is the Boston baked beans. This is a dish which uses navy beans stewed in maple syrup and flavoured with bacon or salt pork. As mentioned above, Navy bean soup is also an excellent way of adding navy beans to your child’s diet.
Ingredients for navy bean soup
- 6 cups of water
- 116 once packet of dried navy beans
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 diced tomato
- half a teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 chopped celery stalks
- 1 chicken cube (not mandatory)
- 1 minced clove of garlic
- Combine all ingredients except for the salt and pepper, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 2 hours
- Add a little more water, discard the bay leaf, add seasoning and let it simmer for two more hours.
- Serve hot.
Popularising navy beans in this century is beneficial not only for your growing kids but also for you. Now that you have seen the benefits and how easy it is to cook these scrumptious beans, what are you waiting for?
Read More: Health Benefits of Mung Bean for Babies