Elaborating on the Nutritional Benefits of Great Northern Beans

Nutritional Benefits of Great Northern Beans
Great northern beans contain an array of nutrients, including trace minerals, that promote good health. This post elaborates more on the nutritional benefits of great northern beans.
NutriNeat Staff
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2017
Quick Tip
Always prefer dried beans, and avoid buying canned beans as they contain excess amount of sodium.
Also referred to as white beans, great northern beans are considered a healthy food, thanks to their high nutritional value. These nutritious legumes are oval-shaped, medium in size, have a creamy texture and a delicate, nutty flavor. Great northern beans are relished as a side dish and often added in soups and stews. High in proteins, the beans can be an excellent substitute for meat-based protein products. Also, they can be always included in a weight loss diet as they are low in cholesterol and fats.

Let us take a closer look at the nutritional benefits of these beans, through this NutriNeat article.
Northern beans
High in Potassium
A cup (177 g) of cooked great northern beans provides a whopping 692 mg of potassium, which is around 20% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Potassium, that behaves as an electrolyte, plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles. Even the heart muscles depends on potassium so that it can beat correctly. This mineral is also important to keep the bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis. Low potassium levels can cause muscle aches, irregular heart rhythms as well as raise blood pressure. So, it is essential that you add great northern beans to your diet in order to get adequate potassium.
Packed with Fiber
Just a cup of great northern beans delivers around 12 g of dietary fiber, an astounding 50% of the RDA. Although fiber does not provide any nutrition, it is indispensable for healthy living as it promotes digestive health. Insoluble fiber ensures that your intestinal system is working properly. It promotes smooth bowel movement and keeps that constipated feeling at bay. Whereas, soluble fiber in beans may help to keep cholesterol and sugar levels in check.
Rich in Proteins
If you are looking for a meat-free option to get adequate proteins, what better way than having great northern beans. Adding only 177 g of cooked beans to your everyday meals, supplies 14.7 g of protein, which fulfills 29% of the daily recommended intake. Vegetable proteins are a better choice as compared to those obtained from animal sources, particularly from red meat. A diet high in vegetable protein contains very less amount of saturated fats, and moreover, has a positive impact on cholesterol and blood pressure. Also, proteins from vegetable sources like great northern beans can help build muscles.
Good Source of Iron
Consuming great northern beans is one of the best ways to ramp up your intake of iron. A cup of cooked beans contains approximately 3.8 g of iron that meets about 21% of the RDA. Dietary iron plays a crucial role in the synthesis of red blood cells (RBCs) that carry and transport oxygen to every cell of the body. Iron-deficiency can cause anemia, in which the body is deprived of enough oxygen, leading to extreme fatigue and weakness. However, the iron found in great northern beans is non-heme iron, which is not so well-absorbed. So, to ensure that the body absorbs more non-heme iron from the beans, include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet.
Top Folate Food
Great northern beans is one of the richest sources of folate (vitamin B9), with a cup of cooked beans supplying 181 mcg of folate, thereby fulfilling a whopping 45% of the RDA. Folate is essential for vital cellular functions such as cell growth and division, DNA synthesis and repair. Getting folate during pregnancy is of prime importance as it helps prevent birth defects.
High in Calcium
As we know, for healthy bones, one simply cannot ignore calcium-rich foodstuffs, particularly milk. However, if you cannot have dairy products due to lactose intolerance, healthy alternatives like great northern beans are recommended, as they also contain adequate calcium. A cup of cooked beans increases your calcium intake by 120 mg, providing 12% of the RDA.
Low Glycemic Index Food
Great northern beans are considered a low glycemic index food, which essentially means, they are digested slowly and do not cause a sudden increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. Choosing such slowly absorbed foods that prevent insulin spikes is one of the best ways to manage diabetes. Moreover, as these foods are digested and absorbed gradually, you feel fuller for a longer duration, thereby helping to curb hunger cravings. Thus, low glycemic index foods, like great northern beans, can act as an excellent tool for controlling food cravings and losing weight.
Other Nutrients
Magnesium and phosphorus that help in various bodily functions, are also present in adequate amounts in great northern beans. The beans are also a moderate source of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C. You can also get your quota of trace minerals (selenium, zinc, manganese, chromium) by including these cooked beans in your diet.
On the whole, great northern beans provide a good dose of nutrition that is critical for vital functions and helps to keep us healthy. So, make sure you add these beans to your diet in order to reap their health benefits.