The plants that produce navy beans may be either of the bush type or vining type, depending on which cultivar they are.
Consumption of baked beans has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This might be at least partly explained by high saponin content of navy bean. Saponins also exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal activity, and have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth. Furthermore, navy bean is the richest source of ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid among the common bean varieties. It is commonly known as the "Navy Bean" due to its use as a staple of United States Navy rations in the 19th century.
^Susan M. Shutler, Gemma M. Bircher, Jacki A. Tredger, Linda M. Morgan, Ann F. Walker and A. G. LOW (1989). The effect of daily baked bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) consumption on the plasma lipid levels of young, normo-cholesterolaemic men. British Journal of Nutrition, 61, pp. 257–265 doi:10.1079/BJN19890114.
^Donna M. Winham, Andrea M. Hutchins. Baked bean consumption reduces serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic adults. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.) 1 July 2007 (volume 27 issue 7 pp. 380–386 doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2007.04.017).
^John Shi, Sophia Jun Xue, Ying Mab, Dong Li, Yukio Kakuda, Yubin Lan. Kinetic study of saponins B stability in navy beans under different processing conditions. Journal of Food Engineering 93 (2009) 59–65.
^Devanand L. Luthria, Marcial A. Pastor-Corrales. Phenolic acids content of fifteen dry edible bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) varieties. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 19 (2006) 205–211.