Add Handful of Pinto Beans for a Healthy Life

Updated on March 12th, 2020
Benefits of pinto beans

Pinto Beans are solid light brown or pale pink when cooked, and give out an earthy, almost nutty flavor. It is a staple part of many diets and eaten either whole or mashed. Pinto beans are inexpensive, versatile beans commonly used in stews, soups, and rice-based dishes. The various nutritious benefits of pinto beans make them an easy and smart addition to your diet.

Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA, one cup/171 ml of cooked Pinto beans with no added salt or fat has

Calories 245
Fat 1 gm
Sodium 407 mg
Carbohydrates 45 gm
Fiber 15 gm
Sugar 0.6 gm
Protein 15 gm

Health Benefits of Pinto Beans

1. Great Source of Protein

Pinto beans happen to be one of the best alternative vegetarian protein sources. 100 grams of the pinto bean contains 347 calories, and 21.47 grams or 38% of the recommended daily values for protein.

This is great for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians who seek to add some extra protein in their diet. You can rustle up a simple dish of Pinto beans for your daily protein intake.

[ Read: Benefits of Green Beans ]

2. Rich in Antioxidants

Pinto beans contain many healthy antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids. Antioxidants are great for protecting the cells from damage from free radicals or unstable molecules that contribute to diseases over time. Pinto beans are rich in kaempferol, a flavonoid that has impressive health benefits.

Kaempferol is also known to reduce inflammation and the incidence of stroke(1) Pinto beans are an excellent source of antioxidant isoflavone. There is 0.18 mg of isoflavones per 100 grams of beans. Isoflavones have been known to reduce post-menopausal cancers and osteoporosis.

[ Read: Benefits of Cannellini Beans ]

3. Great Source of Fiber

Healthy fiber intake is very important as it helps feed the good bacteria in the gut. One cup or 171 gms of boiled pinto beans provides 40% to 60% of the fiber requirement for men and women, respectively. Including fiber-rich food like Pinto beans in your diet may promote good heart health, blood sugar control, proper digestion, gut health, and weight loss.

Fiber works as a laxative in our system; protecting the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances, and by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Dietary fiber is also great in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It helps by decreasing the reabsorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon.

4. Loaded with Vitamins

Pinto beans happen to be one of the best sources of many B-complex vitamins like folate, thiamine, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins work as cofactors for enzymes in carbohydrates, protein, and fat metabolism.

Thiamine is great as it helps the body convert food into energy. Pinto beans also contain minerals like iron and magnesium and contain small amounts of other B vitamins, zinc, and calcium.

[ Read: Benefits of White Kidney Beans ]

5. Improves Blood Sugar Regulation

blood sugar levels

Pinto beans might support blood sugar control. In spite of their high carbohydrate content, they don’t excessively raise blood sugar. They have a low glycemic index, which means that they are digested slowly, thereby moderating their blood sugar effects.

There are studies that indicate that diets that contain low glycemic index foods might be instrumental in improving blood-sugar regulation.(2) What’s more? Pinto beans also have a high amount of fiber and protein, two compounds that slow the release of sugar into your system.

[ Read: Benefits of Bean Sprouts ]

6. Contains a Good Amount of Folate

Consuming Pinto beans can fulfill around 94% of your daily values. Folate, along with Vitamin B-12, is one of the essential factors required for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet of a pregnant mother may help keep the fetus safe from neural tube defects.

7. Naturally Low in Fat

Surprisingly, there’s only one gram of fat in Pinto beans, making them naturally low-fat food. Foods like Pinto beans have naturally good nutritional value with little to no fat, making them a healthier alternative to foods that have removed fat in processing.

So, if you are looking to cut out unnecessary fatty foods from your diet, substitute them with the healthy Pinto beans.

Before cooking Pinto beans, rinse them to remove any dirt or dust. Then proceed to remove any cracked or broken beans. Boil three cups of water and add a cup of beans. Simmer for around 20 minutes or so, depending on your taste preference.

If you want to make an existing dish more nutritious, all you need to do is toss a handful of the pinto beans into your favorite soup, stew, or salad recipe. You can also consume whole cooked pinto beans if you want to reduce your salt and fat intake.

[ Read: Benefits of Soybean Oil ]

Myths and Side Effects

There was a rare incidence of legume-based allergies in the past, and they still might occur in adults and children. Consult your family physician whether you can consume pinto beans safely or not. A legume allergy may cause nausea, so speak to a healthcare provider before you eat pinto beans.

Pinto beans are very nutritious. Apart from being an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they are also rich in many antioxidants and may help lower your risk of chronic diseases. That’s not all. Pinto beans are affordable, easy to prepare and go well with numerous dishes.

[Also Read: Health Benefits of Cluster Beans ]


1. Is it good to eat beans every day?

While consuming legumes or beans is good for health, consult a dietician before including them as a major part of your diet.

2. Can beans make you gain weight?

Pinto beans are very low in fat, and hence won’t make you gain weight. There are hardly any calories in Pinto beans, so you can eat them without a worry.

3. Are canned Pinto beans healthy?

Canned beans are fine, just watch out for extra flavoring that the manufacturers use.

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