Sunday, October 26, 2008

Navy Beans: The Low-Fat Meat Alternative

As far back as the 17th century, beans were regarded as a cure-all for ailments ranging from colds to hair loss. We know now that beans are a great alternative to animal protein. According to How to Eat to Live by Elijah Muhammad, man can survive indefinitely on the navy bean. While beans are low in fat and sodium, high in protein and fiber, and contain folacin (folic acid), vitamins, and minerals, they are also very easy on the pocketbook. In these tough economic times, including navy beans in your diet will certainly stretch your dollar by reducing both your grocery bills and your doctors visits.

Let's take a closer look at the nutritional content of navy beans:

Navy beans are similar to Great Northern beans, but are much smaller. They are sometimes called “pea” beans because they are similar in size to peas, but they are more oval than spherical. Navy beans are a member of the Phaseolus species, and are grown primarily in Michigan. They are related to other white beans as well as to kidney beans and pinto beans.

Nutrition Highlights
Navy beans (boiled), 1 cup (182g)
Calories: 258
Protein: 15.8g
Carbohydrate: 47.8g
Total Fat: 1.0g
Fiber: 11.6g

*Excellent source of: Iron (4.5mg), and Folate (255mcg)
*Good source of: Calcium (127mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

Here is one of my favorite Navy Bean Soup recipes re-printed from my website Journeys Fitness

1 lb. dry navy beans; 1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

2 cloves minced garlic; 1 large carrot, peeled

2 stalks celery; 2 tbsp. sea salt

1/2 large white onion; 1 cup chopped bell pepper (all colors)

1 teaspoon sage; 1/4 teaspoon red pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil; 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

4-6 bay leaves; water to cover

Wash and soak beans for 6-8 hours. Mince all vegetables in food processor. Cover beans with water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Skim off foam. Once beans break easily with a spoon, add olive oil. Cook until beans begin to cream and water has turned milky (about 30 minutes). Add all vegetables and add seasonings . Add more water, if desired. Simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Salt to taste. Serves 6.

Try to eat at least one serving of Navy Bean Soup with your dinner everyday for a month and note the changes in your health. More next time...

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