Pinto Beans: Nutrition, Benefits, And Risks

Reviewed by Dr Archana Batra, CDE
Written by Aparna Mallampalli, BEd (Biological Sciences), MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition

Beans are an indispensable part of the diet in many countries. One of the most popular beans is the pinto bean, which offers a variety of health benefits. The nutritional benefits of pinto beans are due to their high levels of proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other micronutrients. Pinto beans also have a low-fat content.

This article discusses the nutritional profile of pinto beans and their potential side effects. Take a look.

What Are Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans are among the most consumed bean varieties. They are native to Mexico and are scientifically called Phaseolus vulgaris. They are reddish or beige and have a unique earthy smell with a nutty flavor. They are used whole or mashed and are popular in Mexican cuisine. They take about 90to 150 days to completely turn dry. They can also be consumed as green snap beans.

Let us look at the nutrition facts of pinto beans in the next section.

Pinto Beans Nutrition Facts

100 grams of raw pinto beans contain the following nutrients:

Energy143 kcal
Protein9.01g
Carbohydrates26.2g
Starch 15.2g
Water 63g
Ash1.17g
Potassium436mg
Fiber9g
Phosphorus147 mg
Magnesium50 mg

Note: Values are sourced from USDA

Health Benefits Of Pinto Beans

1. May Reduce The Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease

A sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are among the major factors associated with coronary heart disease risk. Studies suggest that consuming pinto beans regularly may reduce the risk. These beans reduce the levels of serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (1). Beans may also improve lipid profiles associated with cardiovascular disease (2).

2. May Promote Satiety

Pinto beans are low in fat and are usually preferred for weight loss. Studies show that their high fiber content may promote satiety and help reduce obesity (3). However, these were only short-term results. Detailed studies are warranted to further understand this benefit of pinto beans in the long run.

3. May Help In Glycemic Control

Beans are high in fiber and have slowly digestible carbohydrates. They may help promote long-term glycemic control. They may also lower fasting blood glucose levels (4). Additionally, the intake of fiber is directly related to a reduced risk of diabetes (5). Consult your doctor if you have diabetes and want to include pinto beans in your diet.

4. May Lower The Risk Of Mortality

Dietary fiber is associated with many health benefits (6). Studies show that dietary fiber may significantly reduce mortality associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, digestive disease, and infectious and inflammatory diseases. A direct impact of dietary fiber on CVD is also observed (7).

5. May Reduce The Risk Of Cancer

Studies suggest that pinto beans may reduce colorectal cancer risk. The large number of bioactive compounds in dry beans could prevent cancer. Their bioactive constituents may delay or prevent tumor formation. Dry beans could also reduce advanced colorectal adenomas (8). However, more studies are warranted in this regard.

Despite an array of health benefits, consuming pinto beans in excess may also cause adverse effects. Keep reading.

Adverse Effects

1. May Increase Flatulence

Bean consumption may increase flatulence, bloating, and stool changes in some. However, there is a variation in this response. Increased flatulence and intestinal gas were observed in some people when dietary fiber intake was high. Oligosaccharides — water-soluble carbohydrates — are difficult to digest. They get converted into carbon dioxide, sulfur, and hydrogen and move out in the form of flatus (9).

2. May Affect Bone

Studies show that excess intake of high phytate foods may affect bone health. Pinto beans contain phytates that can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Excess phytates in food can also lead to iron and zinc deficiencies (10). However, you can reduce the phytate concentration in pinto beans by soaking them in water before cooking or eating.

3. May Cause Abdominal Pain

Anecdotal evidence suggests that pinto beans may induce abdominal pain or aggravate existing pain. It is also associated with cramps and nausea. These effects may be caused due to the high protein content of the beans. However, more research is needed in this regard.

Allergies

Studies suggest that patients allergic to beans show reactions like asthma, dyspnea, chest tightness, and tachycardia. The reaction occurs majorly after ingestion. The chances of allergy while handling (cleaning or cooking) these beans are fewer (11). Consult your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms.

Pinto beans are the most consumed bean variety with an impressive nutritional breakdown. They have a nutty flavor and contain phytochemicals, dietary fiber, proteins, and micronutrients. These nutrients are responsible for many benefits of pinto beans. The intake of pinto beans may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, promote satiety, help in glycemic control, lower mortality, and reduce cancer risk. However, their excess consumption may lead to several side effects. They may increase flatulence, affect bones, cause abdominal pain, and allergies. Hence, consume them in moderation to enjoy their benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there another name for pinto beans?

Pinto beans are also called speckled beans, frijol pinto, or painted beans.

Are pinto beans the same as kidney beans?

Kidney beans have a meaty and slightly sweet flavor. But pinto beans have a creamy texture and earthy flavor. However, these can be used as a substitute for each other in dishes to mimic the taste.

Are pinto beans cheap?

Pinto beans are affordable. However, canned pinto beans are slightly more expensive than the dry variant.

When are pinto beans grown?

Pinto beans are mostly grown in August or September and from December to February. However, they are available in the dried form throughout the year.

Key Takeaways

  • Pinto beans are the most consumed bean variety with exceptional nutritional benefits.
  • They may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood glucose levels, and help prevent tumor formation.
  • However, excessive consumption may lead to flatulence, abdominal pain, and allergies.

References:

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Pinto bean consumption reduces biomarkers for heart disease risk
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17634169/
  2. Pinto bean consumption changes SCFA profiles in fecal fermentations bacterial populations of the lower bowel and lipid profiles in the blood of humans
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17951475/
  3. Pulse Consumption, Satiety, and Weight Management
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3042778/
  4. Effect of non-oil-seed pulses on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled experimental trials in people with and without diabetes
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19526214/
  5. Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/
  6. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7589116/
  7. Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Infectious Diseases and Others: A Meta-Analysis of 42 Prospective Cohort Studies with 1,752,848 Participants
    https://najms.com/index.php/najms/article/view/51
  8. High Dry Bean Intake and Reduced Risk of Advanced Colorectal Adenoma Recurrence among Participants in the Polyp Prevention Trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC1713264/
  9. Perceptions of flatulence from bean consumption among adults in 3 feeding studies
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3228670/
  10. Excess dietary protein can adversely affect bone
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9614169/
  11. Viciafaba Hypersensitivity and ASA Intolerance in a Farmer: A Case Report
    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2011/191787/
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Dr Archana Batra

(PG Diploma, CDE)
Dr Archana Batra is a dietitian, physiotherapist, and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 13 years of experience in nutrition and... more

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