Along with other legumes, pinto and kidney beans are the dried seeds that grow inside bean pods. These beans contain no trans fats and are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Eating beans helps prevent heart disease and even fights cancer. The protein in pinto and kidney beans allows you to eat them as meat substitutes in your meal plan.
Pinto and kidney beans provide the fiber you need to reduce hunger and keep your digestive system running smoothly. The soluble fiber found in foods like beans slows down your digestion and has been proved to lower cholesterol, keeping your heart healthy, according to the PubMed Health. Cooked pinto beans yield slightly more fiber in a cup with 15.4 grams, compared with 11.3 grams of fiber in kidney beans. Both of these beans go a long way in providing you with the recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
A cup of pinto or kidney beans supplies slightly more than 15 grams of protein, which is about 33 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein for women and about 27 percent of the RDI for men. Proteins consist of amino acids, which your body uses to repair skin, organs, muscles and glands. Your metabolism also uses proteins to build new cells, especially during childhood development and pregnancy. Eating too much meat can cause high cholesterol, so choosing beans as a protein source is part of a healthy diet.
Folate is a B vitamin that is either synthetic or naturally occurring. Synthetic folate is known as folic acid. Folate and folic acid help build red blood cells and are instrumental in the production of DNA, which controls your genetic makeup. Dried legumes are a natural source of folate, and pinto and kidney beans are no exception. A cup of pinto beans supplies 294 micrograms of folate, which is more than half the recommended daily intake of 400 micrograms for adults. Kidney beans contain slightly less folate with 230 micrograms per cup.
Minerals in Beans
A cup of pinto beans supplies 86 milligrams of magnesium, which is more than 25 percent of the 310 milligrams recommended daily intake for women and 400 milligrams for men. Kidney beans are a bit lower with 74 milligrams of magnesium in a cup. Your body uses magnesium to clot your blood, regulate your blood pressure and strengthen bones. Another mineral, potassium, helps your heartbeat remain steady and aids in lowering your blood pressure. Pinto beans contain about 15 percent of the 4,700-milligram daily recommended intake of potassium for adults, with 746 milligrams per cup. Kidney beans provide a little less with 717 milligrams.
Pinto beans and kidney beans also contain over 3.5 milligrams of iron, giving women almost 20 percent of their recommended iron intake of 18 milligrams and about 44 percent of the recommended 8 milligrams for men. You need iron to assist your red blood cells in carrying oxygen throughout your body. This mineral also aids in making amino acids, hormones and brain transmitters.
Eating too much fiber from beans can cause gas and bloating. If you don’t eat a lot of fiber, gradually add beans to your diet, rather than eating a large amount at once. This will help the good bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the added fiber.
Soaking pinto beans and kidney beans overnight in cold water helps reduce cooking time. It also reduces the compounds that make gas, which can cause bloating. Another soaking method is to place the beans in a pot, cover them with water and boil them for a few minutes. After boiling, let the beans soak overnight. This also reduces gas. You can also soak the beans for about one hour after boiling, but this will increase the cooking time for your recipe.
- North Dakota State University: All About Beans
- PubMed Health: Fiber
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beans, Pinto, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beans, Kidney, Mature Seeds, All Types, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Estimated Average Requirements
- PubMed Health: Protein in Diet
- PubMed Health: Folic Acid in Diet
- Harvard Medical School: Listing of Vitamins