Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by S&W Beans, however all opinions, experiences and enjoyment of beans and the brand are completely my own!
When February comes around, visions of pink and red hearts pop up everywhere! February is not only the month we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, it also marks American Heart Month. This is the perfect opportunity to focus on making simple, positive lifestyle changes that can help improve the health of your heart and make you feel better every day!
As a mom, wife and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, eating for heart health is a top priority. Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke run on both my side of the family and my husband’s. Rather than feeling doomed to a diagnosis of any of these chronic and fatal conditions, we focus our attention on eating well and exercising regularly.
Unfortunately, many people feel that eating for heart health means sacrificing flavor for nutrition. They fear having to give up eating favorite foods and foods they’ve grown up with in order to achieve good health, but that is simply not true. In fact, a food that I grew up eating and continue to enjoy eating is one of the healthiest foods on the planet: beans. Beans are a low calorie (110 calories per serving), high fiber (6-9 grams), high protein (5-8 grams) food that is rich in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, and contain zero saturated and trans fats. They also have a variety of heart-protective chemicals, including flavonoids (also found in dark chocolate and berries) that lower risk of heart attack and stroke. So, it’s no surprise that a 2005 epidemiological study published in The Journal of Nutrition that examined the relationship between bean consumption and cardiovascular disease, indicated that one serving (1/2 cup) of beans per day was associated with a 38% lower risk of heart attack (Kabagambe et al). Now that is excellent news about a food that my family and I love to eat!
I love that I can find beans at any grocery store, they’re an inexpensive source of protein, and they’re an extremely versatile ingredient to work with in the kitchen! My favorite brand of beans, by far, is S&W Beans. They not only offer a wide variety of Classic Beans to choose from, they also have a 50% Less Sodium line, all of which are certified by the American Heart Association. Choosing the low sodium variety allows me to have better control over the amount of salt that goes into my bean dishes and they’re ideal for folks who are keeping a close eye on their total daily sodium intake. Consuming less sodium per day can promote healthy blood pressure, which can help decrease overall risk of heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
S&W® Beans has a wonderful catalog of recipes on their website that inspired me to experiment with a few of their varieties. I liked the concept of their Four Bean Salad, so I made a few twists and came up with my own Mexican Bean Salad! I used garbanzo, black, kidney and small white beans and made a dressing with fresh lime juice, garlic and a few of my favorite dried seasonings. I tossed that together with fresh cucumber, canned diced tomato, bright cilantro and creamy avocado to make a super simple and delicious salad.
Enjoy and cheers to a healthy heart! ❤️
Study: Kabagambe EK, Baylin A, Ruiz-Narvarez E, Siles X, Campos H. Decreased consumption of dried mature beans is positively associated with urbanization and nonfatal acute myocardial infarction. J Nutr. 2005;135(7):1770-1775.
Mexican Bean Salad with S&W® Beans
Recipe by Christy Wilson
Serves: 6, 1 cup servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes
- 1, 15.5 ounce can S&W® Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 ounce can S&W® Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15.25 ounce can S&W® Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 ounce can S&W® White Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 14.5 ounce can diced tomato, drained
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cucumber diced
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 clove garlic (about 1 teaspoon), smashed and finely diced into a paste
- ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed between the palms of your hand
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon season salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
In a large bowl, add all beans, tomato, cucumber and avocado. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together and pour over salad ingredients. Toss to combine.
Allow salad to marinate for 15 minutes to one hour. Garnish with extra cilantro, if desired.