Packed full of protein, fiber, and other nutrients, pinto beans make an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
They offer several potential health benefits including improved glycemic control and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Not only are they highly nutritious, but they can also be used to make tasty dishes and are commonly used in Mexican cuisine.
Let’s dive into the main nutrition facts and health benefits of pinto beans, along with some helpful tips on how to prepare them.
Here's What's In Store For You...
Pinto Beans Nutrition – All You Need to Know
Phaseolus Vulgaris – The Common Bean
Pinto beans come from the common bean and mature legumes family.
The scientific name for these beans is Phaseolus Vulgaris.
Other beans in this family include kidney beans, black beans, pea beans, white beans, and yellow eye beans.
Pinto beans are a light brown color and have darker brown speckles on them. When they are cooked they take on an all-over light brownish-pink color.
You’ll probably find dried pinto beans in the bulk section of your supermarket.
They can also be purchased fresh, although this is less common. If you do purchase them fresh they will need to be shelled before you cook them.
Canned pinto beans are another option that can be especially helpful if you need to get a meal prepared quickly.
Just checked the label on any canned beans in case they contain added salt and/or fat.
Pinto Beans Nutrition Facts
Like other beans in the Phaseolus Vulgaris family, the pinto bean is packed full of nutrients.
From vitamins to fiber content and protein, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of pinto beans and their associated health benefits.
1) Pinto beans are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
One cup of cooked pinto beans contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
These include some of the B vitamin group (especially thiamin and folate), iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and calcium.
One cup of pinto beans (from dried, with no added fat) covers a whopping 73% of your recommended daily value for folate (vitamin B9).
It also offers a decent source of thiamin (vitamin B1) and vitamin B6, at around 30% of the recommended daily values for each.
Pinto beans also help you boost your mineral intake, with one cup offering around 17-22% of your daily values for minerals such as iron, selenium, potassium, and magnesium.
Even if you only opt for a serving size of around half a cup, legumes such as pinto beans can be considered a decent source of vitamins and minerals.
They are a great food to include as part of a balanced and varied diet.
2) Pinto beans have a great macronutrient profile
One cup of boiled pinto beans contains around 245 calories and 15 grams of protein.
The decent levels of protein in legumes such as pinto beans make them a great addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Most whole grains and legumes such as pinto beans are incomplete sources of protein. This means that they do not contain the full range of essential amino acids.
For this reason, legumes such as pinto beans, and whole grains such as rice are often combined to create a complete source of protein.
You’ll find both beans and rice in many traditional Mexican dishes.
Pinto beans provide very few calories from fat, with most of them coming from carbohydrates.
They contain around 1 gram of total fat, very little saturated fat, and zero trans fat.
3) Pinto beans are a superb source of dietary fiber
Dietary fiber is found only in plant-based foods.
One cup of pinto beans provides more than 50% of the recommended daily values for fiber.
Overall, a diet that is high in minimally processed plant foods will help ensure you are meeting your fiber requirements.
Fiber is a crucial component of a healthy diet.
It is important for:
- Feeding the good bacteria in your gut
- Bulking out your stools and making them easier to pass
- Keeping blood sugar levels under control by slowing down the release of sugar into the bloodstream
Diets with a high fiber content have been associated with a lower risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Overall, an adequate intake of fiber is important for a healthy digestive system.
Pinto beans, black beans, and other legumes offer an excellent source of dietary fiber.
4) An antioxidant-rich food
Beans such as black beans and pinto beans are very rich in health-promoting antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce cell damage in the body, which is caused by free radicals.
There are many classes of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin E, carotenoids, and minerals such as zinc and selenium.
Certain beans such as red kidney beans and pinto beans, and vegetables such as artichoke hearts and baked potatoes have been identified as antioxidant superstars.
5) Including pinto beans in your diet may assist with weight loss
Regular consumption of pinto beans can assist your weight loss efforts in a few ways. If you’re concerned about the high carbohydrate content of pinto beans, then lean in.
You already know that pinto beans contain significant levels of protein and fiber.
As well, pinto beans have a relatively low glycaemic index (GI).
This means that they release sugar into the body slowly over time. Ultimately, they can help you to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
A meal that includes both beans and rice will help reduce the glycemic response compared to a meal of rice alone.
The combination of protein, fiber, and a low GI means that pinto beans can help you to feel more satiated. They will also keep you feeling full for longer.
You Might Like: LeanBean – Does it Help You Lose Weight?
6) Improve health markers and reduce the risk of disease
Pinto beans have been described as a functional food for their protective effects against many health issues and conditions.
These include oxidative stress, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many types of cancer.
They may help to prevent high blood pressure due to the presence of important minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
Regular consumption of pinto beans can have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels in the body.
Studies have shown that pinto beans have the potential to lower total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels.
Overall, foods like pinto beans may help to improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Storage, preparation, and cooking of pinto beans
To reap the health benefits of pinto beans, they must be prepared and cooked properly.
Legumes such as pinto beans are known to contain “anti-nutrients”.
These are compounds that can reduce your ability to absorb nutrients.
Antinutrients are significantly reduced when legumes are properly prepared and cooked thoroughly.
You already know that the regular consumption of pinto beans can help promote a healthy digestive system.
However, some people may experience a flare-up of symptoms, such as those associated with irritable bowel syndrome when they consume these sorts of foods.
Appropriate preparation of these sorts of foods can help reduce these effects.
Storing and preparing dried beans
Store dried beans inside an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
When you want to use them, some preparation is required.
They should be soaked for around eight hours or longer before they are cooked. To ensure you’re well prepared, you can soak the beans overnight.
Throughout the soaking and cooking process, the beans will swell in size. Two cups of dried beans will produce around four or five cups of cooked beans.
To prepare your beans, first, rinse them thoroughly and discard anything in there that doesn’t look like a whole pinto bean!
Place the beans in a pot and cover with plenty of water, along with a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Soaking your pinto beans will significantly decrease the level of anti-nutrients, making them easier to digest, and increasing nutrient availability.
Adding the acid (vinegar or lemon juice) will further enhance this effect.
You may want to discard and refill the water one or more times during the soaking process.
Cooking pinto beans
- Before you cook your beans, discard the water used for soaking, and rinse the beans thoroughly.
- Then refill the pot with the beans and cold water.
- For one cup of soaked beans, you’ll need to add around three cups of water.
- You may need to add additional water while they are cooking
- The recommended cooking time for pinto beans ranges between 90 and 120 minutes.
- Aim to maintain a simmer and you may wish to remove foam from the top while they are cooking. You can also use a pressure cooker as an alternative to a pot.
- If you are using canned beans, they don’t need to be cooked as such, but they should still be rinsed thoroughly before using.
- You can add delicious spices, vegetables, and other ingredients to cooked pinto beans to create incredible dishes that are nutritious and taste great!
Some of the food recipes you might want to try with pinto beans include homemade baked beans, burrito bowls, and refried beans with corn tortillas.
Pinto beans nutrition | In summary
Pinto beans are a nutritious food that can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
If you are using canned beans, check the label for added sodium, fat, or sugar.
Pinto beans are low in saturated fat and are a good source of protein and slow-releasing carbohydrates.
Pinto beans can offer several potential health benefits such as control of blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and a reduced risk for heart disease.