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Navy bean

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Navy Bean
SpeciesPhaseolus vulgaris
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy1,468 kJ (351 kcal)
60.75 g
Sugars3.88 g
Dietary fiber4.3 g
1.5 g
22.33 g
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[1] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[2]

The navy bean, haricot bean, pearl haricot bean,[3] Boston bean,[4] white pea bean,[5] or pea bean[6] is a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) native to the Americas, where it was first domesticated.[7] It is a dry white bean that is smaller than many other types of white beans, and has an oval, slightly flattened shape.[3] It features in such dishes as baked beans,[3] various soups such as Senate bean soup,[8] and bean pies.

The green bean plants[4] that produce navy beans may be either of the bush type or vining type, depending on which cultivar they are.[9]


Navy beans being served at the Navy Memorial (2007)

The name "Navy bean" is an American term coined because the US Navy has served the beans as a staple to its sailors since the mid-1800s.[10]

In Australia, navy bean production began during World War II when it became necessary to find an economical way of supplying a nutritious food to the many troops—especially American troops—based in Queensland. The United States military maintained a large base in Kingaroy and had many bases and camps throughout south-east Queensland. It actively encouraged the widespread planting of the beans.[10] Kingaroy is known as the Baked Bean Capital of Australia.[10] Another popular name for the bean during this time was "the Yankee bean".[10]


Navy bean cultivars include:

  • "Rainy River"[11]
  • "Robust", resistant to the bean common mosaic virus (BCMV),[12] which is transmitted through seeds[11]
  • Michelite, descended from 'Robust', but with higher yields and better seed quality[11]
  • Sanilac, the first bush navy bean cultivar[11]

Other white beans[edit]

Other varieties of white beans include:

  • Cannellini (or fazolia[4]) are a white kidney bean that is popular in central and southern Italy, but first developed in Argentina.[4] They are larger than navy beans and closely related to the red kidney bean[citation needed] They are used in minestrone soups.[4]
  • Lima beans, also known as Butter Beans.
  • Great northern, also called "large white" beans, are larger than navy beans as well, but smaller than cannellini beans. They have a flattened shape similar to lima beans and a delicate flavor.[citation needed]
  • The runner bean, Phaseolus coccineus, is a large white bean known in Greece as gígantes (Greek: γίγαντες, "giants") and eléfantes (ελέφαντες, "elephants").
  • The marrow bean, a medium to large white bean with a bacon-like flavor, which was popular for baked beans in the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[13]

Nutritional value[edit]

White beans are the most abundant plant-based source of phosphatidylserine (PS) currently known.[14] It contains notably high levels of apigenin, 452±192 μg/kg, which vary widely among legumes.[15]

Consumption of baked beans has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.[16][17] This might be at least partly explained by the high saponin content of navy beans. Saponins also exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal activity, and have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth.[18] Furthermore, navy beans are the richest source of ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid among the common bean varieties.[19]

Storage and safety[edit]

Dried and canned beans stay fresh longer by storing them in a pantry or other cool, dark place under 75 °F (24 °C). With normal seed storage, seeds should last from one to four years for replanting, with a very large timetable for cooking for well-kept seeds, nearing on indefinite. Avoid beans that are discolored from the pure white color of these beans, as they may have been poorly handled while they dried.[20]


  1. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  2. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  3. ^ a b c "Beans, White Pearl Haricot, Dried, per kilo". kirkfood.com.au. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e Willan, Anne (1989-09-17). La Varenne Pratique: Part 3, Vegetables, Pasta & Grains. p. 205. ISBN 9780991134625.
  5. ^ "Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)". Pulse Canada. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Pea bean". The American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-09-17.
  7. ^ Paul Gepts (December 1998). "Origin and evolution of common bean: past events and recent trends". HortScience. 33 (7): 1124–1130. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.33.7.1124. Archived from the original on 2015-10-19. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  8. ^ [senate.gov/reference/reference_item/bean_soup.htm Senate Bean Soup]
  9. ^ Mark Goodwin (2003). "Crop Profile for Dry Beans" (PDF). Pulse Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d "History". Bean Growers Australia. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  11. ^ a b c d James D. Kelly. "One Hundred Years of Bean Breeding at Michigan State University: A Chronology" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  12. ^ Schwartz, H.F.; Corrales, M.A.P. (1989). Bean Production Problems in the Tropics. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT). ISBN 9789589183045.
  13. ^ GourmetSleuth. "Marrow beans". Gourmet Sleuth. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  14. ^ Souci SW, Fachmann E, Kraut H (2008). Food Composition and Nutrition Tables. Medpharm Scientific Publishers Stuttgart.
  15. ^ Konar, Nevzat (2013). "Non-isoflavone phytoestrogenic compound contents of various legumes". European Food Research and Technology. 236 (3): 523–530. doi:10.1007/s00217-013-1914-0. S2CID 85373016.
  16. ^ Shutler, Susan M.; Bircher, Gemma M.; Tredger, Jacki A.; Morgan, Linda M.; Walker, Ann F.; Low, A. G. (2007). "The effect of daily baked bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) consumption on the plasma lipid levels of young, normo-cholesterolaemic men". British Journal of Nutrition. 61 (2): 257. doi:10.1079/BJN19890114.
  17. ^ Winham, Donna M.; Hutchins, Andrea M. (2007). "Baked bean consumption reduces serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic adults". Nutrition Research. 27 (7): 380–386. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2007.04.017.
  18. ^ Shi, John; Xue, Sophia Jun; Ma, Ying; Li, Dong; Kakuda, Yukio; Lan, Yubin (2009). "Kinetic study of saponins B stability in navy beans under different processing conditions". Journal of Food Engineering. 93: 59–65. doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2008.12.035.
  19. ^ Luthria, Devanand L.; Pastor-Corrales, Marcial A. (2006). "Phenolic acids content of fifteen dry edible bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) varieties". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 19 (2–3): 205–211. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2005.09.003.
  20. ^ "How Long Do Beans Last?". Retrieved 23 November 2014.