Are All Canned Beans the Same? A Nutritionist Weighs In

Are All Canned Beans the Same? A Nutritionist Weighs In

Beans are one of the best foods we can eat for our health. For evidence of that, you only need to look at the Blue Zones. In these longevity hotspots, where people often live well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond, varieties like garbanzo and fava beans are a dietary staple, alongside many other legumes, like peas and lentils. Beans are packed with essential nutrients, including iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, and they’re a good source of antioxidants, too, as well as protein and fiber, which is vital for not just gut health, but also blood sugar balance and healthy cholesterol levels. But, when it comes to canned beans, which ones are the best? Find out more below, plus seven brands you can find on the shelves right now.

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Which canned beans are the healthiest?

When it comes to canned beans, the variety of this pantry staple doesn’t matter as much as the salt and sugar content, says Kiran Campbell, RDN of Kiran Campbell Nutrition.

“All types of beans provide health benefits,” she told VegNews. “It really doesn’t matter if you choose kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, black beans, or any other variety.”

She explained that these benefits include a boost of plant protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. “All beans are essential for heart health in that they help reduce total and LDL blood cholesterol levels,” she added.

But many options on the shelves do contain added salt and sugar content. In the UK, baked beans are a favorite, for example, but on average, half a can of store-bought baked beans can contain around nine grams of sugar and more than a gram of salt. In the US, Bush’s Beans, with its Brown Sugar Hickory Beans and  Smokehouse Tradition Grillin’ Beans, are a go-to for many, but Campbell recommends these are enjoyed in moderation.

“While [sauces like sweet heat and brown sugar hickory] make your beans taste great, they can also add an unhealthy amount of sodium and added sugars to your diet, depending on the portion size you’re consuming and what other foods you choose throughout the day,” she notes. Instead, it’s best to look for simple options. The fewer ingredients, the better. “I’m talking two ingredients,” explains Campbell. “Look for ones with only beans and water on the ingredients list.”

Where to buy canned beans: 7 brands to try

To help you find the best beans for you, we’ve listed some of the most popular bean brands below and highlighted factors like price, variety, and nutrition. We’ve also added vegan cooking inspiration, too, of course. 

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1 Goya 

Price: $1.69+ per can
Variety: 14+ types of beans, including Pink Beans, Dark Kidney Beans, and Garbanzo Beans
Health factor: made with just a handful of ingredients and a nutritious addition to your diet
Make with Goya beans: Gooey Vegan Black Bean Brownies (Oil-Free!)
Find it here

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2 Eden

Price: $3+ per can
Variety: 12 types of beans, including Aduki, Great Northern, and Garbanzo (chickpeas!)
Health factor: organic, chemical additive-free, and made with no added salt
Make with Eden beans: Vegan Beans Marbella With Salty Roasted Potatoes
Find it here

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3 Whole Foods Market

Price: $1.59+ per can
Variety: more than eight types of beans, including Chili Beans, Cannellini Beans, and Baked Beans
Health factor: made with organic, natural ingredients, and simple options like Black Beans have a much lower sodium content than Baked Beans
Make with Whole Foods beans: Spiced Cauliflower With Beans, Slaw, and Vegan Ranch
Find it here

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4 Trader Joe’s

Price: $1.09+ per can
Variety: plenty of options include everything from Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce to Organic Garbanzo Beans
Health factor: most options are made with natural and organic ingredients and make a nutritious addition to your diet
Make with Trader Joe’s beans: Spicy Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Tacos
Find it here

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5 Bush’s Best

Price: $1.36+ per can
Variety: everything from Smokehouse Tradition Grillin’ Beans to Brown Sugar Hickory Beans
Health factor: watch out for the sodium and sugar content; try to limit these beans to every now and again
Make with Bush’s Best beans: Loaded Vegan Spicy Cauliflower Nachos
Find it here 

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6 Good & Gather

Price: $0.85+ per can
Variety: more than 12 options include Refried Beans, Chili Beans, and Organic Low Sodium 3 Bean Blend
Health factor: if watching salt intake, look out for the many Organic Low Sodium options from Good & Gather
Make with Good & Gather beans: Vegan Shredded Mushroom Tostadas
Find it here

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7 Kroger

Price: $0.89+ per can
Variety: more than 12, including Dark Red Kidney Beans, Traditional Refried Beans, and Chili Mild Canned Beans
Health factor: options like Chili Mild have extra salt and added sugar, while more simple options have less, most are additive-free
Make with Kroger beans: Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
Find it here

For more on vegan ingredients, read:

Here at VegNews, we live and breathe the vegan lifestyle, and only recommend products we feel make our lives amazing. Occasionally, articles may include shopping links where we might earn a small commission. In no way does this effect the editorial integrity of VegNews.

Story Credits: Vegnews.com

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