Pinto beans are extremely hearty and possess an earthy, nutty flavor. But the question here is, “Are pinto beans healthy?”
Pinto beans are a plant-based protein that adds texture, flavor, and color to a variety of dishes, and this goes the same with other types of beans.
However, it might come as a surprise to you that pinto beans are the most popular variety of beans eaten by Americans.
So, it is safe to say that pinto beans have claimed the top spot among all the different types of beans.
However, what makes these beans so well-loved? Are pinto beans healthy? All your questions will be answered in this guide, so let’s dive in.
What Are Pinto Beans?
Pinto beans are tan-colored beans that have the shape of an oval with reddish-brown spots.
Figuratively, each pinto bean looks like a painting, and in Spanish, “pinto” means painted.
In Mexican and Southwestern American cuisine, pinto beans are a staple. The beans are soft, nutty, creamy, and earthy.
This actually makes them ideal for fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, and burritos.
You will find pinto beans available in grocery stores as canned beans or dried beans.
They are economical, simple to prepare, and hearty. Pinto beans are a cholesterol- and gluten-free plant-based protein that is also vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Thanks to these, they are a commonly used ingredient in several tasty and sweet dishes.
Health Benefits of Pinto Beans
High in Protein
For women, 46 grams is the daily requirement of protein, and 56 grams is for men.
And you will find 15 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving of boiled pinto beans.
However, 1 cup of canned pinto beans contains 19 grams. As you know, protein is very important for every function in your body.
So, this nutrient also helps repair and regenerate your cells. It fills you up and helps prevent you from becoming hungry and overeating, which in turn helps manage your weight.
Low in Sodium
A 1-cup serving of boiled pinto beans supplies only 2 milligrams of sodium.
Keep in mind that most times, large amounts of salt are added to pinto beans when they go through the canning process.
This is done to extend the shelf life and boost the flavor of the food. So, you will find 662 milligrams of sodium in a 1-cup serving of canned pinto beans.
However, if you intend to stay on a healthy path, you should restrict your consumption of sodium to 2,300 milligrams each day.
But your daily limit will be closer to 1,500 milligrams if you already have heart disease.
This is important because you increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney problems when you consume more than that on a regular basis.
Filled with Fiber
Women should target an intake of between 21 and 25 grams of fiber per day. But, between 30 and 38 grams in the case of men.
Fiber enhances healthy digestion and regular bowel movements, which will decrease your risk of constipation.
A lot of fiber will cut your chances of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. This nutrient comes with lots of benefits.
It also helps decrease cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar.
You will find around 15 grams of fiber in a 1-cup serving of boiled or canned pinto beans.
Pinto beans are actually a healthy source of iron, and this nutrient helps support the production of red blood cells.
They also contain potassium, which enhances the health of the heart. Women under the age of 50 require 18 milligrams of iron each day.
And, in the case of men of the same age, they require 8 milligrams of iron each day.
One cup of boiled pinto beans contains 3.57 milligrams of iron, whereas you will find 4 milligrams of iron in a cup of canned pinto beans.
You need 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day, and you will find around 750 milligrams of potassium in both boiled and canned pinto beans.
Pinto beans also supply small amounts of magnesium, folate, and calcium.
How to Enjoy Pinto Beans
The versatility of pinto beans is one of the major reasons why they are quite popular among Americans.
You can serve and enjoy them in various ways. Some of these include serving them as a side dish, like sweet potato fritters with smoky pinto beans, or as a protein for a meatless meal, such as vegetarian pinto bean sloppy joes.
Another option is to use them in soups, or you can just add them to stews, salads, rice dishes, and so on.
Also, pinto beans are perfect for spreads, fillings, and dips, all thanks to their soft texture.
You can also use either canned pinto beans or just dried beans for your recipe and other dishes, given the fact that it is extremely efficient during busy mealtimes.
And, if you intend to keep the salt content minimal, all you need to do is drain the brine and rinse the canned beans before you consume them.
However, keep in mind that you need to soak them overnight. If you are using dried beans, doing this helps speed up the cooking time.
Storing Pinto Beans and Food Safety
Go for the uncracked beans that have not been exposed to dust or moisture when you want to buy any legumes.
You can actually purchase dried beans in pre-packed containers; however, several stores also sell pinto beans in the bulk section.
That being said, you can purchase just the amount that you need, and most times, it is at a slight discount.
All you need to do is get a tightly sealed container and place the dried beans in it, then store it in your pantry or another cool, dark place.
Legumes can last for up to 12 months and still be in good condition if they are stored properly.
However, your pinto beans will remain fresh for around three days if you cook them. This is when they are refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.
When are Pinto Beans in their Best Form?
Both dried and canned (prepared) pinto beans are available throughout the year.
Final Thoughts on Pinto Beans
As previously mentioned, pinto beans are simple to make, and they can literally be served with just about anything, from salads to burritos and wraps to soups.
As discussed above, you will see that the nutritional and health benefits of pinto beans are exceptional.
They also include a possible reduction in the growth of tumors and low blood sugar levels, which will be a huge help for diabetics.
They help reduce breast cancer risks as well as heart disease risks. They also provide you with beneficial fiber.
So, now it’s quite clear that the answer to the question “Are pinto beans healthy?” is yes. They are a nutrient-filled superfood without the added fat, so go enjoy some pinto beans today.