Heart Healthy: Black Beans

Mild, tender black beans are packed with heart-healthy nutrients including folate, antioxidants, magnesium for lowering blood pressure, and fiber — which helps control both cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Black beans are also an excellent food for making ahead of time. You can get a bag of beans for a little over a dollar in most grocery stores and cook them in your crock pot for simplicity.

Soak beans overnight in water (or quick soak according to directions on the package) and place in your crock pot for 6-8 hours on low. Be sure they are covered with liquid while cooking. I like to use a low sodium broth to add flavor. You can also cook them with or without meat. During the last 2 hours, you can add onions, celery, peppers or any other vegetable you like.

Cooked beans are fridge-friendly for about a week, so go ahead and make a whole bag and add them to salads, soups or simply serve with a whole grain rice as a side.

Tip: Canned black beans are a quick addition in place of cooking a whole pot at once. Look for low sodium varieties and rinse to remove extra solution (which often contains most of the sodium for preserving).

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