Are Pinto Beans Healthy?

Pinto beans are small, but they contain impressive doses of certain vitamins and minerals. With just 2.5 grams of fat per 1-cup serving, pinto beans are a low-fat addition to your healthy eating plan. Pinto beans have more far-reaching benefits to your overall health, and adding them to your diet in a variety of creative and tasty ways allows you to take advantage of what they have to offer.

High in Protein

The daily requirement of protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. A 1-cup serving of boiled pinto beans contains 15 grams of protein, and 1 cup of canned pinto beans supplies 19 grams. Protein is essential for every function in your body, and the nutrient helps repair and regenerate your cells as well. It can also be useful in managing your weight because it fills you up and helps prevent hunger and overeating.

Loaded with Fiber

Women should aim to consume between 21 and 25 grams of fiber each day, while men should get between 30 and 38 grams. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and regular bowel movements, which can cut your risk of constipation. Plenty of fiber reduces your chances of developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. The nutrient also lowers cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar. A 1-cup serving of boiled or canned pinto beans supplies about 15 grams of fiber.

Low in Sodium

A 1-cup serving of boiled pinto beans contains only 2 milligrams of sodium. When pinto beans go through the canning process, large amounts of salt are often added to prolong the shelf life and enhance the flavor of the food. A 1-cup serving of canned pinto beans contains 662 milligrams of sodium. If you’re otherwise healthy, you should limit your intake of sodium to 2,300 milligrams per day. If you already have heart disease, your daily limit is closer to 1,500 milligrams. Regularly consuming more than that can elevate your risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney problems and stroke.

Nutrient-Dense

Pinto beans are a healthy source of iron, which supports healthy red blood cell production, and potassium, which promotes heart health. Women under 50 need 18 milligrams of iron per day and men of the same age need 8 milligrams. One cup of boiled pinto beans supplies 3.57 milligrams, and a cup of canned pinto beans provides 4 milligrams toward these goals. Your daily potassium need is 4,700 milligrams, and both boiled and canned pinto beans supply about 750 milligrams toward that amount. Pinto beans contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium and folate as well.

Serving Tips

Boil your own pinto beans to keep this food as nutritious as possible. Look for brands of beans, such as organic varieties, that don’t use as much added salt. Many grocery stores stock low-sodium pinto beans. Rinse your beans before using them to wash away additional salt. Add pinto beans to vegetable soup, stew and chili recipes. Replace your traditional potato or rice side dishes with warmed pinto beans. Add chopped onions and dried herbs to the beans to enhance their flavor. Add pinto beans to a tossed green salad, or use them as a nutritious filling for burritos and tacos.

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Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.healthyeating.sfgate.com by Sara Ipatenco where all credits are due.

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