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Navy beans (Haricot) nutrition facts

Navy beans or Boston pea beans are a subspecies of white beans in the Fabaceae family of legumes. The beans are one of the most sought-after in the North America and Europe for their wholesome nutritional properties.

Binomially, haricot beans belongs to common bean cultivars in the Fabaceae family, and the genus: Vigna.

Scientific name: Phaseolus vulgaris.

navy beans
Navy (Haricot) beans.

Navy bean is a small bush-type bean plant. It flourishes in well-draining, sandy soil with adequate moisture. Among the other white bean cultivars like Great Northern and white kidney beans, navy is a short duration crop and takes 70-90 days from seedling to harvest.

Each cylindrical bean pod holds about 4-7 seeds. Navys are small, plump, cowpea-size, oval, slightly flattened beans, encapsulated within a thin white skin. Boiled navy has fine, buttery texture and a pleasant sweet beany taste.

Health benefits of Navy (haricot) beans

  1. 100 grams of navy beans carry 354 calories, and 22.33 g or 40% of recommended daily allowance of protein.

  2. Unlike soybeans, haricots contain only small amounts of isoflavones antioxidants. Total value of isoflavones is 0.27 mg per 100 grams of beans; daidzein and genistein at levels 0.01 mg and 0.20 mg respectively. Isoflavones have been found to reduce post-menopausal cancers and osteoporosis.

  3. Haricots carry relatively less amounts of dietary fiber among the white beans. Nonetheless, they carry higher fiber than lentils and some green beans. Dietary fiber works as a bulk laxative that helps to protect the colon mucosa by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

  4. Dietary fiber has shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing reabsorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon.

  5. Navy beans do not contain guten-protein. For the same reason, they preferred as protein rich gluten-free food alternatives in gluten-allergy and celiac disease patients.

  6. Haricot beans are one of the finest sources of many B-complex vitamins like folates, pyridoxine, thiamin (vitamin B-1), pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins works as co-factors for the enzymes in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

  7. Dry navy beans hold 364 μg of folates (94% of DV). Folate, along with vitamin B-12, is one of the essential co-factor for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception and during the pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the babies.

  8. They indeed carry ample amounts of minerals. 100 g of dry navy hold calcium-15%, iron-69%, manganese-62%, phosphorus-58% and zinc-33%.

  9. 100 g of beans hold 1185 mg or 25% potassium. It is essential electrolyte of cell and body fluids which helps to counter pressing effects of sodium on heart and blood pressure.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Navy beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), Raw, mature seeds, Nutritive value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 337 Kcal 17%
Carbohydrates 60.75 g 47%
Protein 22.33 g 40%
Total Fat 1.50 g 7.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 15.3 g 40%
Folates 364 μg 91%
Niacin 2.188 mg 13%
Pantothenic acid 0.744 mg 15%
Pyridoxine 0.428 mg 33%
Riboflavin 0.164 mg 13%
Thiamin 0.775 mg 65%
Vitamin A 0 IU 0%
Sodium 5 mg <1%
Potassium 1185 mg 25%
Calcium 147 mg 15%
Copper 0.834 μg 93%
Iron 5.49 mg 69%
Magnesium 175 mg 44%
Manganese 1.418 mg 62%
Phosphorus 0.407 mg 58%
Selenium 11 μg 20%
Zinc 3.65 mg 33%
Daidzein 0.01 mg
Genistein 0.20 mg
Biochanin A 0.02 mg

Selection and storage

Dry as well as canned haricot beans can be readily available in the shops across the US and Canada. Choose dry, uniform sized white beans in packets as it ensures in unvarying soaking and cooking time. Avoid beans with broken, crack, or cuts on the surface as they do not stay-well once boiled or canned.

Dry navy stay well for many months. At home, store dry beans in air-seal plastic/metallic bin and place in a cool, dry place away from high temperatures and humidity.

Preparation and serving methods

Navy beans are the most sought after among white beans in the USA, Canada and Europe.

Cooking often requires soaking in cold water for 3-5 hours. They cook easily than other white beans varietes. They can also be boiled simmer for 1 hour or Pressure cooked with soaking for 20 minutes and without soaking for 20-30 minutes. Soaking and boiling also helps eliminate anti-nutritional compounds and reduce flatulence.

Here are some serving tips:

baked haicot beans
Lima bean tuna salad.
Photo courtesy: Ewan munro
  • Navy beans feature in famous Boston baked beans recipe and Senate Bean Soup in the USA.

  • Generally navy beans used boiled in dishes and mashed in dips.

  • The navy (haricot) beans employed in soups, stews mixed with other complementing herbs, spices and vegetables.

  • Caldo gallego is the traditional Galician soup which includes navy beans, cabbage, collard greens, turnip greens and potatoes.

  • Boiled haricot beans complement with chopped tomato, parsley, onion and seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil in delicious bean salads.

  • They are also chief ingredients in the slow-cooked casserole (cassoulet) in the French cuisine.

Safety profile

Consumption of raw, soaked navy beans can cause phyto-hemagglutinin (lectin) toxin poisoning, a condition which may cause clumping of red blood cells in humans. Other symptoms include nause, vominting and diarrohea. Cooking in pressure cooker eliminates the toxins and make navy safe for consumption. (Medical disclaimer).

You may also like to read:-

<<-Back to Legumes from Navy Beans. Visit here for an impressive list of vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and health benefits.

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Further Resources:

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  2. Dry beans and peas- Utah State University Extension.

  3. Farm to fork-beans-pdf.

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