Heart-Healthy Beans and The Best Ways to Eat Them

Beans are sustainably-grown, cholesterol-free, and a source of plant protein. The health benefits are almost too good to be true. They are high in antioxidants, low in GI and fat, and vegan-friendly. You can enjoy Heart-Healthy Beans right out of the can or whip them into any dish for a healthy boost. And because they're small, you can add them to salads, dips, and baked goods.

The following is a list of the bean kinds that are the most prevalent, as well as some advice on how to prepare and consume them.

In descending order of the number of nutrients they contain, they are −

Tamarind Beans ­ These small beans have an earthy flavor and a brownish-black exterior. They are sweeter than most other kidney beans and have less of a tendency to become mushy when cooked than red kidney beans. Growing in abundance in West Africa and India (where the tamarind tree grows) for centuries, tamarind is now grown commercially all over the world, including California. To prepare, place them in a pan with water and bring them to a boil. Once the tamarind beans are soft, drain the water and reserve the tamarind liquid for later use. Rinse and set aside to season with your choice of salt, onion, and spices.

Black Beans ­ Black beans are most commonly associated with Mexican cuisine, but their popularity is spreading worldwide. They have been eaten by native peoples in Central and South America for centuries because they were easy to grow, tasted great, and packed a powerful nutritional punch. Black beans have more protein than most other beans and are a good source of fiber, calcium, B vitamins, and iron. Preparing Black Beans: Rinse and soak before cooking. Chop onion into 1-inch cubes and sauté in a pan with olive oil. Place the beans into the onions and stir to coat. Add oregano, coriander, salt, and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for 10 minutes until beans are soft but not mushy (watch for burning on the bottom). Serve warm or cold after removing from heat.

Red Beans/quinoa ­ Red Beans are an excellent choice when looking for a quick meal that's high in fiber and potassium and low in calories. Quinoa is a wonderful grain-like seed that is exceptionally high in protein and abundant in B vitamins. It also tastes similar to rice. To prepare red beans, rinse them and boil them until they are soft. Bring to a boil, immediately drop the heat to a low setting and continue to simmer for 25 minutes or until the pinto beans are tender but not mushy.

Pinto Beans ­ Pinto beans are one of the most popular beans for Southwest cuisine. Their mild earthy flavor makes them a perfect addition to salads, dips, soups, stews, meatloaf, and much more. To prepare Pinto Beans, soak them overnight before cooking. After the beans are soaked, drain water from the can or jar. Place beans in a saucepan (it is important to use a saucepan with a cover because they might pop) and add enough water to cover them by 1.25 inches. Start a boil with it, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes until pinto beans are soft but not mushy.

White Beans ­ White beans are very popular as an alternative to red kidney beans in some cuisines. They are small, light, and have a mild flavor, making them perfect for adding flavor and nutrition to salads, soups, or stews. Boil them like red kidney beans; drain the water after they're cooked and set aside while you prepare your meal.

Some common ways to consume healthy heart beans −

  • Boil in water, taste, and add salt and lemon juice to taste.

  • Soak in water, remove beans, and rinse again with fresh water. Boil with vegetable broth or milk until tender. Heat the same broth or milk as beans and add salt, pepper, and butter (optional). Add lime juice to taste.

  • Add meatloaf browned on top of the stove without added fat (this will add flavor).

  • Add to salad greens for a hearty green salad. Take out about half of the dressing for a milder salsa-type dressing that is quite healthy; add grated cheese, avocado slices, or tomatoes (if desired).

  • Add beans to brown rice, quinoa, or pasta for a healthy alternative to red meat.

  • Add to dips (guacamole, salsa, or hummus) or bean soup recipes. (Bean soups are hearty and very nutritious if you add vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.) You can also drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with cumin powder for added flavor.

  • Make a thick sauce using the liquid from canned beans you put through the blender; use the sauce over pasta or vegetables to add an extra dose of protein and heart-healthy nutrients. You can also use the beans in the sauce and add vegetables such as green peppers, onions, or mushrooms.

  • Add to baked goods such as muffins, pieces of bread, pancakes, or waffles. For example, combine one cup of cooked beans with one cup of whole-wheat flour and add seasonings of your choice.

  • Make a bean spread by pureeing mashed beans with basil pesto, then spread it on toast or vegetable slices for a great sandwich (you can also use it in wraps).

  • Add to a salad for a good dose of fiber and protein.

  • Add to quinoa pasta or other grain-based dishes for added protein and heart-healthy nutrients.

  • Use as a substitute to replace 50% of the oil in hot recipes while keeping the other 50% natural.

  • Add beans to your favorite baked goods such as cookies, brownies, cakes, or muffins for a healthy and delicious recipe!


We hope that you enjoyed reading the above-listed heart-healthy foods and were able to find some that you can use in your daily diet. While the above-listed foods may be an excellent way to start, take the exercises seriously and continue to watch your blood pressure levels.

Updated on: 15-Feb-2023


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