Pinto Beans: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects

By homehealthup

October 28, 2023

In today's environment, where obesity and diseases linked to our way of life are rising, there's a growing need for nutritious, wholesome foods. Pinto beans present themselves as a possible answer, providing numerous health advantages that tackle the health problems of our time. As we navigate the intricacies of current dietary decisions, pinto beans offer hope. They're not only rich in nutrients but also possess the potential to combat the prevailing health challenges that confront us. Let's explore how these humble legumes can significantly improve our health and well-being.


Pinto beans, with their mottled appearance and earthy flavor, are a nutritious and versatile legume enjoyed in various culinary traditions.

What Are Pinto Beans?

The pinto bean is one of the most popular and widely consumed. It is known in Spanish as frijoles pintos, which means "painted bean." It is grown most often in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It is typically eaten whole, mashed, or refried.

This speckled variety of beans has a mild flavor and a creamy texture. Its name refers to its speckling, but the spots disappear during cooking. Pinto beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine. They are also widely available in many countries. Northern Spain even has an annual fair dedicated to pinto beans.

Pinto beans are an excellent source of protein and can be enjoyed in many different ways. They are a popular side dish, a burrito filling, and they can be a crucial ingredient in chili and stews. They are also a versatile addition to salads and rice dishes. Their soft texture makes them excellent for fillings and dips.

Pinto beans have a high fiber content, which is vital for digestive health. These fibers feed the healthy bacteria in the stomach, which in turn help us feel full and relieve bloating. They also improve our skin health and reduce our risk for diseases. However, they should be eaten in moderation as a staple food.

Nutrition Facts of Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a staple of Mexican and South American cooking. They can be eaten whole, mashed, or in other prepared foods. They are also used for animal feed in some parts of the world. The United States is the sixth largest producer of dry edible beans and exports around 14 percent of the domestic crop.

Nutrition facts for 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Pinto Beans include:

  • Calories: 347
  • Fat: 1.2 g 1% - of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Sodium: 12 mg
  • Potassium: 1,393 mg - 39% of the DV
  • Carbohydrates: 63 g - 21% of the DV
  • Fiber: 16 g - 64% of the DV
  • Sugar: 2.1 g
  • Protein: 21 g - 42% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 10% of the DV
  • Iron: 28% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 25% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 44% of the DV
  • Calcium: 11% of the DV

Vitamins and Minerals

Pinto Beans are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Among the most essential nutrients they contain are folate and magnesium. These nutrients improve nerve and heart function and are important for good health. Pinto beans also contain high amounts of phosphorus and manganese. The latter promotes the development of the nervous system.

In addition, pinto beans have plenty of protein and fiber. A cup of cooked beans contains around 19 grams of protein. Protein is vital for the body's functions and helps the body regulate and repair cells. It also lowers cholesterol levels and helps regulate blood sugar levels. So, if you're concerned about your protein intake, pinto beans are a good choice.

Pinto beans are a good source of iron and potassium, which promote heart health. A cup of boiled pinto beans contains about 3.57 milligrams of iron daily, while a cup of canned pinto beans has about 750 milligrams of potassium. The beans are also rich in magnesium and folate.

Health Benefits of Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. They also have cardiovascular and digestive benefits. Eating pinto beans regularly will keep your blood sugar levels stable, providing you with consistent energy. They are also packed with antioxidants, which protect your body from the effects of free radicals. Pinto beans are particularly high in kaempferol, a type of flavonoid that reduces inflammation and reduces the risk of stroke.

Pinto beans are also rich in choline, a water-soluble nutrient. Choline is found in nerve cells and helps to control muscle movements. In addition, it improves memory and aids in forming new blood cells. A single cup of pinto beans contains 60.4 mg of choline, which is 19% of the daily recommended value.

Moreover, pinto beans are a good source of fiber, which is essential for good digestion. Dietary fiber feeds the good bacteria in the digestive tract and reduces bloating and the risk of colon cancer. The American Heart Association recommends eating 25-30 grams of dietary fiber daily, but 95% of Americans need more. The average adult in the US consumes only 16 grams per day. A half-cup serving of pinto beans has eight grams of dietary fiber, 29% of the recommended daily value.

Pinto beans are an excellent source of protein. People with celiac disease often use them instead of wheat or other gluten-based foods. In addition, they contain high amounts of folate, a necessary co-factor in DNA synthesis and cell division. Additionally, folate is essential in the prevention of neural tube defects.

Side Effects

Pinto beans are a widely enjoyed legume known for their nutritional benefits and culinary versatility. However, they come with potential downsides you should be aware of when adding them to your meals. Here are some of the side effects you might experience:

Gas and Bloating

Pinto beans are packed with fiber and complex carbohydrates, making you gassy and bloated if you eat too many. To reduce this discomfort, consider soaking the beans before cooking them and introducing them gradually into your diet.

Digestive Discomfort

Eating a lot of pinto beans quickly can lead to digestive problems, including stomach cramps and diarrhea. To avoid these issues, maintain a balanced intake and ensure the beans are thoroughly cooked.

Interference with Nutrient Absorption

Pinto beans contain phytic acid, hindering your body's ability to absorb essential minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc. While this is usually not a concern for most people, those with mineral deficiencies or who heavily rely on beans for protein may want to explore alternative food options or seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Allergic Reactions

Although rare, some individuals may have bean allergies, including pinto beans. Symptoms can range from itching and swelling to more severe reactions. If you have a history of legume allergies, use caution when incorporating pinto beans into your diet.


Like other legumes, pinto beans contain compounds such as lectins and protease inhibitors, which can affect digestion and nutrient absorption. However, the risk of antinutrient adverse effects is usually low when beans are thoroughly cooked.

Weight Gain

While pinto beans are a nutritious choice, overindulging can lead to weight gain since they are calorie-dense. If you're not mindful of portion sizes and overall calorie intake, excessive consumption could result in unwanted weight gain.

Pinto beans offer numerous health benefits when eaten in moderation and prepared correctly. But be aware of potential side effects, including gas, digestive discomfort, interference with mineral absorption, allergic reactions, antinutrients, and the possibility of weight gain. It's crucial to incorporate pinto beans sensibly into a balanced diet to enjoy their advantages while minimizing any potential downsides. If you have specific concerns or underlying health conditions, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized dietary guidance.

Tips for Choosing Pinto Beans

When it comes to pinto beans, picking the best ones is crucial for your meals and their health benefits. Here are some simple tips to help you choose pinto beans wisely:

Look and Feel

Start by checking how the beans appear and feel. Choose plump beans in good shape and don't show any visible damage, like cracks or odd colors. Make sure the beans are smooth and free from any signs of mold or wetness.


Pinto beans have a distinctive color pattern - light beige and reddish-brown. Go for beans with a consistent and even color blend. This uniformity is a sign of quality.


If you're getting packaged pinto beans, inspect the package for tears, damage, or signs of exposure to moisture. Ensure the package is sealed properly to keep the beans fresh.

Label Details

Look at the label for essential info, like the production date, expiry date, and any storage instructions. Fresher beans often have better flavor and texture.


Some people prefer beans with organic or non-GMO certifications. If you have specific dietary needs or preferences, check for relevant certifications on the package.

Buying from Bulk Bins

When buying beans from bulk bins, pay attention to the cleanliness and organization of the store. Ensure the beans are stored in covered containers and look well-maintained to avoid contamination.


Although pinto beans aren't known for their smell, could you give them a quick sniff? Fresh beans should have a gentle, earthy scent. If they have any unpleasant or rancid odors, choose a different batch.


Pinto beans come in different sizes. Smaller beans may cook faster, while larger ones offer a heartier texture. Pick the size that fits your recipe or personal taste.


Whenever you can, buy pinto beans from trustworthy suppliers or brands known for their quality; this increases the chance of getting beans that meet the recommended standards.


After buying, store your beans properly to keep them fresh. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

These tips for choosing pinto beans can elevate your cooking and ensure you get the most from this versatile legume. Paying attention to quality and being selective can make a big difference in your culinary experience.

Tips for Preparing Pinto Beans

Preparing pinto beans is critical to making them taste great and ensuring a safe and enjoyable meal. Here are some practical tips to help you prepare pinto beans effectively:

Checking and Cleaning

Before cooking pinto beans, spread them out on a clean surface to look for any beans that need to be fixed, dirt, or tiny stones. Rinse the beans under cold running water to get rid of any impurities.


Soaking pinto beans before cooking can help them cook faster and be easier on your stomach. There are two common ways to do this: soaking them overnight or using the quick-soak method. For the overnight method, cover the beans with water and let them soak for at least 8 hours. The quick-soak method involves:

  • Bring the beans to a boil.
  • Taking them off the heat.
  • Letting them soak for an hour.

Draining and Rinsing (After Soaking)

After soaking, get rid of the water and give the beans a good rinse with fresh water. This helps to remove some of the things that can make you gassy.

Cooking Liquid

Use fresh water or broth as the liquid for cooking. For more flavor, you can use vegetable or chicken broth. Ensure there's enough liquid to cover the beans by about two inches.

Hold Off on Salt

It's best not to add salt to the cooking liquid until the beans are cooked. Salt can make the bean skins tough, so they take longer to cook.

Cooking Time

Cook the pinto beans gently over low to medium heat. The time it takes to cook them can vary depending on how old the beans are and how long you soak them, but it usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours. To check if they're done, try one; it should be soft but not mushy.

Adding Flavor

When the beans are part of the way cooked and almost as tender as you like, add salt, spices, and other things that make the beans taste good.

Saving and Warming Up

If you have leftover cooked pinto beans, keep them in a container that seals tight in the fridge. Warm them up on the stove or microwave when ready to eat. A little bit of liquid can help keep them from drying out.

More Tasty Touches

For extra flavor, add things like onions, garlic, herbs, or spices while the beans are cooking. These can give the beans even more taste.

Safety First

Make sure that you cook pinto beans all the way to get rid of any bad stuff. Beans that aren't fully cooked can be bad for you, so wait to taste them until they're done.

Tips on Including Pinto Beans in Meal

Pinto beans are a Southern staple that has many uses. They are easy to prepare and affordable and can be an essential part of your meal. You can serve them as the main protein or a side dish to accompany a main course. They are also great for tailgating and dinner parties.

Pinto beans can be purchased dried or canned and are a versatile food. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and are a healthy addition to a variety of dishes. If you don't have time to cook them yourself, you can make them ahead of time and freeze them for later use. When cooking pinto beans, remember to season them so they will have a delicious flavor.

Another good way to prepare pinto beans is to cook them in a slow cooker. You can soak them overnight and cook them on high pressure for three to four hours. If you buy canned beans, rinse them before cooking, as they may contain more sodium than dried beans.

If you have limited time and don't want to soak your beans overnight, try quickly soaking dried beans. These beans are typically rinsed and placed in a large pot of water, which should be at least three to four cups. It should be boiled for at least one minute, but you should allow it to soak overnight for the full benefits. If you are cooking pinto beans for the first time, clean them thoroughly before you start cooking them.


About the author

Homehealthup is an avid researcher with a deep love of health. She specializes in writing research and reviews on new and essential topics in fitness and nutrition by thoroughly analyzing products based on user reviews, personal experiences, and feedback from forums.

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