Health Benefits of Pinto Beans
- 14 minutes read
Pinto beans are well known in the United States. I dare say that they’re the most popular dried beans in the United States.
Pinto beans are a variety of Phaseolus vulgaris, a variety of the common bean mostly used in Mexican cuisine.
They have a reddish-brown speck when they are dried. When cooked, the turn pale pink or light brown. Their flavor is nutty and earthy and can be prepared with ease. You can eat them mashed or whole.
Pinto beans are rich in vitamins and minerals. But they also offer many other health benefits.
This article will review some of its nutrition and health benefits.
Pinto beans contain many nutrients
The major nutrients in pinto beans are protein, carbs, and fiber. They are also rich in minerals and vitamins.
A cup of pinto beans (171 grams) boiled with salt provides the following nutrients (1):
- 245 calories
- 45 grams of carbs
- 15 grams of fiber
- 15 grams of protein
- A gram of fat
- 407mg of sodium
- 28% of the DV of thiamine
- 20% of the DV of iron
- 21% of the DV of magnesium
- 20% of the DV of phosphorus
- 16% of the DV of potassium
From the details above, you can see that they are rich in thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. Your body needs vitamin B1 because it helps with the conversion of food into energy.
Pinto beans also contain other minerals, like magnesium and iron, as well as small amounts of zinc, calcium, and other B vitamins.
They are cholesterol-free and low in sodium and fat.
Rich in fiber
Fiber is a form of carbs. It is indigestible and usually found in plant foods.
Fiber is essential for good digestive health. It provides nutrients for the good gut bacteria. The bad news is that many people don’t take as much fiber as they should daily (2, 3).
Women are advised to take at least 25 grams of fiber every day. On the other hand, men should strive for 38 grams (4).
A cup of boiled pinto beans can provide 60% of the daily value of fiber for men and 40% for women.
Eating fiber-rich foods enhances blood sugar control, heart health, gut health, proper digestion, and weight loss (2, 5, 6, 7).
Pinto beans are rich in antioxidants
Pinto beans are rich in healthy antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols.
Antioxidants offer protection from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals, when they accumulate in your body can contribute to chronic ailments (8).
Pinto beans contain a lot of kaempferol. Kaempferol is a flavonoid that provides your body with many health benefits. Several studies have proven that it represses the growth and multiplication of cancer cells (9, 10, 11, 12).
It is also important to know that kaempferol has anti-inflammatory benefits, and also lowers a person’s risk of stroke (13, 14).
Pinto beans improve blood sugar control
It has been established that pinto beans may support the regulation of blood sugar.
Yes, they contain many carbs. However, they don’t raise blood sugar that much. Their glycemic index is on the low side, meaning that your body digests them slowly, thus moderating their effects on blood sugar (15).
Several studies have shown that foods with a low glycemic index may enhance blood sugar regulation (16, 17).
It is also worth knowing that these beans are rich in protein and fiber, and both nutrients can slow the release of blood sugar into your blood (3, 18).
Pinto beans improve heart health
Of course, they are good for your heart.
An 8 – week study found that daily intake of 86g (one cup) of pinto beans caused a significant decrease in total and low lipo-density cholesterol. Note that high levels of LDL cholesterol increase a person’s risk of heart disease (19, 20).
Apart from lowering LDL cholesterol levels, a study found that regular consumption of pinto beans also encouraged the production of propionate (6).
Propionate is a short-chain fatty acid that lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels (21, 22).
Finally, these beans are rich in potassium, magnesium, and other nutrients. Potassium and magnesium prevent high blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.
May promote weight loss
Pinto beans can boost your weight loss efforts.
Because of their high fiber and protein content, these beans can keep you full for a longer time, and also reduce your appetite (25, 26).
Studies have shown that increased bean consumption increases satiety, reduces waist circumference, and lowers your body weight (27, 28, 29).
We can say without a doubt that pinto beans are very nutritious.
They are a great source of fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins. These nutrients have many health benefits, such as improved regulation of blood sugar and cardiovascular health.
They are also loaded with antioxidants and may reduce your risk of chronic ailments.
Also, they are cheap, can be prepared with ease, and go well with many dishes.
Tonika Bruce, also known as The Network Nurse, is a multi-talented individual with a career spanning over 20 years. She’s a Registered Nurse, speaker, author, and advocate for change, excelling in business building and team development. Tonika holds two Master’s degrees in Nursing and Business Administration, (MSN & MBA) and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership.
Her expertise extends to various fields such as nursing, entrepreneurship, business, basketball coaching, and executive leadership. She is a published author of “Relentless Pursuit: Proven Tips for Unlocking Your Potentials, Limitless Success and Post COVID Syndrome: A Guide to Repositioning the Nursing Profession for A Post COVID Era”. Currently, Tonika is working on Thrudemic, an anthology examining the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medical professionals and patients.