Why You Should Consider Buying Low-Sodium Canned Beans

There are certain staple items that are always great to have in your pantry, as they can be transformed into a quick and easy meal at a moment's notice, using whatever you have on hand when you're low on options. Canned beans definitely fall into that camp — and as Healthline explains, there are a few different reasons why they are such a solid addition to your pantry, especially if you are looking to eat healthy. Plus, there's such a wide variety of ways to use these powerhouse ingredients in healthy dishes. As Food Network details, you can use canned beans in everything from salads to soups to spreads.

From a nutritional standpoint, they're a fantastic source of plant-based protein, and they're also packed with plenty of nutrients, such as folate and polyphenols, according to Medical News Today. Additionally, beans have a ton of fiber and are low in fat.

Even though dried beans are often more budget-friendly than canned beans, canned beans are still incredibly inexpensive, especially compared to many other protein sources. And there's no denying that canned beans are much quicker to cook. Rather than simmering your beans for hours, you merely pop open the can and you're pretty much good to go.

Why low-sodium options are the way to go

When it comes to choosing the exact types of canned beans you want to stock your pantry with, there's just one thing you should keep in mind. According to the American Heart Association, it's best to select low-sodium canned items, often labeled "unsalted" or "no salt added." This is a simple swap that's a step in the right direction for avoiding the health conditions that can be triggered by a high salt intake such as high blood pressure or kidney disease, according to Healthline.

If you cannot seem to find low-sodium options, there's a tip that you may already be doing — drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly before incorporating them into your dish rather than tossing them in straight from the can. According to Food Network, this step can reduce the sodium content of your beans by up to 40%, transforming even regular canned beans into a more low-sodium option. However, there's a bit of debate about the exact reduction in sodium percentage. Camellia Bean Blog, for example, claims sodium content is reduced by about a third if canned beans are drained and heated in clear water.

This simple swap allows for a bit more flexibility in the kitchen. Starting with a more neutral base, such as unsalted canned beans, allows you to season your dish as you see fit, rather than trying to combat the saltiness of a key ingredient.