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What Are the Benefits of Pinto Beans?

by Meghan Slocum

About Meghan Slocum

Meghan Slocum has a bachelor's degree in English from Whitman College. In the past she's written for Whitman College's newspaper and organizations that she interned for, including Breathe California, Blossom Birth and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

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Overview

From warm bean burritos to hearty chili to creamy refried beans, pinto beans are an integral part of many delicious comfort foods. Unlike some comfort foods, however, pinto beans are an indulgence that you don’t need to feel guilty about. Full of nutritional value, pinto beans are good for your body, your budget and your creativity in the kitchen.

Nutrients

According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, pinto beans are a good source of protein, dietary fiber, folate and potassium. Pinto beans are naturally low in fat and sodium and are free of saturated fat and cholesterol. The U.S. Department of Agriculture adds that all beans also supply other vital nutrients such as iron and zinc.

Health Benefits

Pinto beans and other legumes offer a variety of health benefits. According to the U.S. Dry Bean Council, eating beans can assist you in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, help keep your blood sugar stable and reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease and some cancers.

Cost

Pinto beans are very affordable. Relying on canned beans or cooked dried beans to replace some of the meat in your diet can be an easy way to save money on your grocery bills.

Convenience

Canned pinto beans are a quick, convenient meal option that can be stored in your pantry until you want to use them. With a little planning ahead, dried beans can be nearly as convenient. Cooking a large pot of beans requires minimal hands-on time; once cooked, beans can easily be frozen into individual serving sizes and added to future meals just like canned beans.

Versatility

As the U.S. Dry Bean Council explains, pinto beans work well in a variety of different recipes. They can enhance the main entrée as a side dish and add flavor and protein to salads, yet are hearty enough to form the basis of main dishes such as many Mexican dishes and varieties of soup.

Restricted Diets

Pinto beans are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture points out, pinto beans are a good source of vegetarian protein, so including pinto beans in vegetarian or vegan diets is an excellent way to ensure that you are meeting your protein requirements. As the U.S. Dry Bean Council explains, pinto beans can also be a good component of a gluten-free diet, since beans are naturally gluten-free.

Photo Credits:

  • dried pinto beans image by Carpenter from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.