Health Benefits of Pinto Beans

The pinto bean is a variety of the common bean. It is the most popular bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried. Either whole or mashed, it is a common filling for burritos. Simple and affordable, pinto beans are densely packed with nutrients that benefit the body in many ways. Preventing disease with good nutrition is better than treating it with medication. And even if you are already struggling with a health problem, pinto beans may be something to include your diet to let your food be your medicine.

Nutrients in Pinto Beans

One cup of cooked pinto beans contains a significant amount of your daily need for fiber, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, folate, and B1 and B6.

Nutritional deficiencies are a common reason for disease. Eating foods high in nutrients help combat disease by preventing the deficiencies that contribute to them.

1. Heart Disease
The cholesterol reducing fiber, the magnesium, and potassium in pinto beans all contribute to heart health. According to one study, daily consumption of ½ cup of cooked pinto beans appears to reduce the risk of heart disease.1

2. Digestion
Dietary fiber deficiency contributes to constipation. Eating pinto beans and other legumes can reduce constipation. Molybdenum is a co-factor in the breakdown of carbohydrates. Pinto beans are quite high in the necessary trace element of molybdenum.

While some steer clear of beans because they can cause gas and bloating, proper cooking of beans reduces this risk. Activated charcoal tablets or digestive enzymes may also make it easier for those sensitive to beans to eat them more freely without side effects.

3. Diabetes
According to the American Diabetic Association beans are among ten superfoods for diabetics.2

Pinto beans are low on the glycemic index. They can help you to feel full without spiking blood sugar.

4. Weight Loss
Because pinto beans help you to feel full without a lot of calories, they are a good addition to a diet to promote weight loss. Adding some cayenne pepper or hot sauce to your pinto beans boosts their weight loss potential, as hot peppers can help to increase your metabolism.

5. Anxiety
An interesting study3 reported that pregnant women who consumed a traditional Brazilian diet of beans and rice or a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, fish and tea experienced less pregnancy and postpartum anxiety than those who consumed a diet of processed foods. Of course this is logical. Processed foods lack nutrients and are more likely to cause blood sugar highs and lows, both of which can contribute to mental health problems.

Additionally, popular diets that are very high in animal proteins can give women in particular too many extra hormones (even organic meats contain hormones, because all animals have hormones) making hormonal imbalances more common. Hormonal imbalances can definitely affect anxiety levels for the worse.

Pinto beans are a great addition to a healthy diet that promotes physical and mental health.

How to Eat Pinto Beans

If the thought of eating a half a cup of pinto beans every day makes you want to weep, take heart. There are many wonderful ways to consume pinto beans!

Pinto Bean Salad

  • 1 cup pinto beans
  • 1 T. chopped red onion
  • 1 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Refried Pinto Beans

  • 1 cup juicy pinto beans
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon butter or coconut oil

Preparation: Mash together

Pinto beans can be added to vegetable soup, used as a base for vegetarian chili or eaten with rice wrapped in a lettuce leaf or tortilla.

Proper Cooking of Pinto Beans

Cooking your dried pinto beans properly reduces the risk of gas and bloating from pinto bean consumption.

A bag of inexpensive dry beans is quite easy to prepare, it just takes time. For best results, soak the dry beans in ample water as the beans will double in size as they absorb the water. Allow the beans to soak for 12-24 hours. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Add fresh water to cover, plus a little more. Simmer them on the stove for several hours or until they are of the desired consistency. The longer you cook them, the softer they get. You can cook them in a crock pot all day or overnight. (Low for 9-11 hours)

You can also used canned pinto beans. Look for canned pinto beans that do not have any added ingredients other than salt. You can rinse the canned beans and use them for a pinto bean salad. Or heat them up and serve them with chips and salsa and sliced avocado.


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