Here are pinto beans nutrition facts and health benefits. The benefits of pinto bean mentioned in this article are based on studies.
Pinto beans are the most popular dried beans in the United States. They’re a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), which is frequently used in Mexican cuisine.
Pinto beans are beige with reddish-brown specks when dried but become a solid light brown or pale pink when cooked. They have an earthy, almost nutty flavor and are simple to prepare. They’re regularly eaten whole or mashed.
Pinto beans are not only full of vitamins and minerals but may also offer several impressive health benefits. Here are pinto beans nutrition facts and health benefits. The benefits of pinto bean mentioned in this article are based on studies.
1. Pinto Beans Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one cup (172g) of cooked pinto beans with no added salt or fat.
Carbs: Pinto beans provide a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates. There are nearly 30 grams of starch in a single serving of pinto beans. Carbohydrates in the form of starch provide the body with quick energy.
Pinto beans are also a good source of fiber (15 grams per cup). Fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar, boost satiety, and improve digestive health. Pinto beans provide less than 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar.2
Pinto bean glycemic index (GI) is about 39; foods with a GI of 55 or below are considered low glycemic foods. The glycemic load of 150 grams (3/4 cup) of pinto beans is just 10. Glycemic load takes the serving size of the food into account when estimating the food’s effect on blood sugar. A glycemic load of less than 10 is thought to have little effect on blood glucose response.
Fats: There is only 1 gram of fat in pinto beans, which makes them a naturally low-fat food. While some nutrition experts caution against the use of processed, low-fat foods for weight loss or healthy weight maintenance, foods like pinto beans that naturally provide good nutrition and little to no fat are a smart addition to any diet.
However, be advised that many processed forms of pinto beans may contain added fat. For example, if you buy canned refried beans, it is likely that the beans have been cooked with fat—often lard.
Protein: Each serving of pinto beans provides a substantial 15 grams of protein. For this reason, many vegans and vegetarians use pinto beans or other types of legumes to boost their protein intake.
However, pinto beans are not considered a complete protein. Complete proteins provide all of the essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body and therefore must be consumed in the diet. You’ll also need to consume whole grains, nuts, or seeds in order to get all essential amino acids during the course of a day on a plant-based diet.
Vitamins and Minerals: Pinto beans are packed with nutrients. You’ll get 74% of your daily recommended intake of folate (294mcg) if you consume one cup of pinto beans and you follow a 2,000-calorie per day diet. Folate, a B vitamin, helps boost red blood cell production and provides other health benefits.
You’ll also get 36% (251mg) of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of phosphorus, and 33% (0.8mg) of your recommended intake of manganese, a vitamin that boosts nervous system and brain health.
Pinto beans are a good source of several other micronutrients. Per 1-cup serving:
Iron: 20% RDI
Magnesium: 20% RDI
Vitamin B6: About 20% RDI
Thiamin: 28% RDI
Potassium: 20% RDI
Copper: 40% RDI
2. Health Benefits of Pinto Beans
Excellent plant-based protein source
Every 1/2-cup serving of cooked pinto beans provides 8 grams of protein, which makes them an excellent protein option for meals. Adding them to a recipe can boost the amount of protein in the dish. Their protein and iron content makes pinto beans an ideal food choice for vegetarians and vegans. However, pinto beans are not a complete protein, meaning that they do not contain all the essential amino acids which the body needs to get from food. Vegetarians and vegans will need to eat a variety of plant-based foods, such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, to ensure that they obtain all the essential amino acids.
High in fiber
Every 1/2-cup serving also provides 8 grams of dietary fiber, which is one-fifth to one-third of your daily recommended dietary fiber consumption, depending on your age and gender. Fiber gives you the feeling of fullness, which can make you less likely to overeat. More importantly, eating pinto beans, and other foods with fiber, regularly provides many health benefits, such as improved heart health, digestive health, cholesterol, weight maintenance and more.
While pinto beans contain carbohydrates, they do not raise blood sugar quickly because they are slowly digested and absorbed. For this reason, pinto beans are considered a low-glycemic food. This is largely thanks to their high fiber and protein content, making them a healthy choice for people with diabetes.
Rich in folate
Pinto beans are an excellent source of folate, with every 1/2-cup serving providing more than one-third of your daily recommended intake. Folate is essential for making cells, tissues and red blood cells in the body. It is also a vital nutrient for preventing neural tube defects in the early stages of pregnancy.
Loaded with antioxidants
Beans have bioactive compounds, such as flavonoids, which are believed to act as antioxidants. Pinto beans are particularly rich in kaempferol, one of the many antioxidants present in plant-based foods. Kaempferol has properties that may effectively reduce inflammation and protect cells against free radicals, which can reduce risk of cancer.
May improve blood sugar regulation
Pinto beans may support blood sugar control. Despite their high carb content, they don’t excessively raise blood sugar. Their low glycemic index (GI) means that they’re digested slowly, moderating their blood sugar effects.
Multiple studies show that diets rich in low-GI foods may help improve blood sugar regulation. Additionally, pinto beans are high in fiber and protein, both of which slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream.
May aid heart health
Pinto beans are also heart-healthy. One small, 8-week study found that eating 1/2 cup (86 grams) of pinto beans every day significantly decreased both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol — high levels of which are associated with increased heart disease risk.
In another study, eating pinto beans regularly not only lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol but also encouraged propionate production. Propionate is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) shown to help lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Lastly, pinto beans are rich in various nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium. These minerals help prevent high blood pressure, a crucial risk factor for heart disease.
May boost weight loss
Pinto beans may promote weight loss. They’re rich in both protein and fiber, two nutrients that can help you feel full for longer and keep your appetite at bay. Multiple studies have linked bean intake to increased fullness, lower body weight, and smaller waist circumference.