Beans are more a foil for flavors around them than in them. Your great bean dishes aren't really about the bean but what's happening around the bean. Hummus and Refried beans are probably the most bean dense dishes and are strongly seasoned because of the bland bean puree. Moving to intact bean dishes like chili, red beans and rice, these are still strongly flavored with onions, garlic and intense spices.
Salt helps. Yes it toughens the skins somewhat. But it does improve the flavor of the bean. Where you're talking healthy, then lets skip the cooking with salt and recognize that the bean is just what it is. We don't need extra salt in the bean to make a good dish of beans.
I'm not fan of the soak and such. Primarily it helps prevent beans from exploding or shedding their skins. You can get rid of a little oligosaccharides, but not enough to benefit imho. You're just adding complication to what should be pretty easy.
There's that little rough patch on a bean on the inside curve where it was attached in the pod. This is where all the water and flavor will enter your bean during cooking. This is why beans cook slowly.
Get a big teaball, 3-4 inch diameter. This will run you about $10.00. A good asian grocer will have one or you can get it online such as at Amazon. You'll cook your beans with your aromatics in the teaball. Sure, you can cook your beans with the aromatics mixed in too, but you'll have more versatility with the beans separate. Fishing out the herbs and spices and such is much simpler with a teaball. Also good for other things like soups. Put parmesan rinds, bay leaves, whole herbs and such in the teaball. Easy to remove when its time.
Cook your beans for the recommended time with the seasonings of your choice. I usually use some onion quarters, smashed garlic cloves, whole pepper corns and bay leaves. This leaves the beans with a little more flavor, but not a lot more.
If I was doing Chili, I'd probably add extra garlic, whole cumin, some dried chiles, and oregano as well.
If you're serious about beans, a pressure cooker will simplify your life greatly. Once the pressure cooker is at pressure, the cooking time is just 45-55 minutes depending on they bean. Maybe a bit more for a large kidney bean. And with a pressure cooker, the onion and garlic just turn to mush. You'd never get them out of the broth without having them in a teaball. This makes it much simpler to prepare a minestrone or chili while the beans cook. About the time the beans are done, your chili or soup is ready to receive the freshly cooked beans.