Legume of the month: White beans


Image: © ALLEKO/Getty Images

All beans are rich in fiber, but the top-ranking variety is the navy bean, allegedly named for its popularity in the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century. These pea-sized, cream-colored beans provide 10 grams of fiber per half-cup serving. Most Americans are woefully deficient in dietary fiber, which helps lower harmful LDL cholesterol and is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Navy beans are just one of many varieties of white beans, which include cannellini, great northern, and white kidney beans. Cook's Illustrated magazine describes cannellini beans as having a "meaty, lush texture with a buttery, subtle mushroomlike flavor" whereas great northerns are "slightly chalky and mealy, with strong mineral notes." Lima and baby lima beans (also known as butter beans) are also considered white beans.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »