White beans are also known as navy beans or haricot beans. Northern beans or flageolet beans can be substituted for white beans in some recipes.
White beans and their relatives are types of legumes. Legumes turn atmospheric nitrogen into protein and are eaten around the world. They are a popular source of protein in vegetarian diets. They also contain high levels of fiber, folate and iron. Legumes are most commonly available canned, dried or frozen. Various substances in legumes have been shown to have health benefits, including reducing cancer risk. Legumes have been a dietary staple in some cultures for over 20,000 years.