What are navy beans, and how are they beneficial for your good gut?
Navy beans are a dry white bean that is smaller than many other types of white beans. They have a soft, velvety texture and a slightly nutty taste. Soaking your navy beans in cold water overnight helps soften them, makes them more digestible, and shortens the cooking time. If you don't want to soak beans, be prepared to cook them a little longer. Navy beans have a superior nutrient profile and offer numerous health benefits; that makes them a valuable addition to your diet.
Navy beans are high in vitamins and minerals, they provide a rich source of folate, manganese, thiamin, magnesium, and iron. One of the minerals found in navy beans is manganese, which is important for gut health because it helps activate the enzymes that regulate our metabolism and allows us to digest food and absorb other nutrients more easily. Additionally, it helps in the digestion of protein and amino acids. Manganese also helps the body utilize vitamins such as choline, thiamine, and vitamins C and E. In a study testing navy bean and black bean supplementation for gut health, they found that both beans were successful at improving the function of the microbial community structure and promoted the colon barrier integrity and function; there were also potential benefits for both of these beans to lower diseases in the gut.
In addition to their great nutrient profile, navy beans are a great plant based protein and rich in fiber. One half cup of navy beans contains about 7.5 grams of protein and 9.6 grams of fiber. Fiber is amazing for keeping the gut microbiome nourished and healthy; it provides nourishment for your gut bacteria so they don’t turn to your gut lining for food. Both fiber and protein together maintain satiety levels and help keep you feeling full longer. If your goal is to maintain a healthy weight, consider a snack that is high in protein and rich in fiber for example, this Navy bean soup with the recipe below.
Ways eat it
Buy them fresh or canned and add to your soups, chilis, salads, or bowls
Add to smoothies to get an extra boost of protein!
To make them easier to digest, try soaking them overnight or for 4 to 6 hours before cooking them or soak and cook navy beans with a piece of Kombu seaweed; however, after cooking the Kombu should not be eaten whole due to the potentially toxic amounts of iodine.
Recipe: Navy Bean Soup
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
2 cups dried navy beans, soaked
14 oz canned tomatoes, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp ketjap manis
4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/3 cup celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
Soak beans with 1 Tbsp baking soda and/or Kombu seaweed for 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Wash and rinse beans after soaking.
In a large pot, add a few Tbsp of vegetable broth to the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and onions (optional: celery and carrots). Cook for a few minutes.
Add beans, vegetable broth, and can of tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and lower heat to medium heat for one hour. Stir occasionally.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and enjoy!
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Florian. (August 2018). Navy bean soup.
Goodson, A. (August 2018). 10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Manganese.
Hurrell, R., Egli, I. (May 2010). Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values, The
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(5). 1461–1467. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2010.28674F.
Monk, J. M., Lepp, D., Wu, W., Pauls, K. P., Robinson, L. E., & Power, K. A. (2017). Navy
and black bean supplementation primes the colonic mucosal microenvironment to improve gut health. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 49, 89–100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.08.002.
Robertson, R. (December 2017). The 9 healthiest beans and legumes you can eat.