Beans provide protein, iron and zinc -- which makes their nutritional value similar to that of meat. Many people eat beans as a meat alternative due to their similar nutritional value, but beans are also considered a vegetable because they contain fiber, potassium and folate. Pinto beans were first cultivated in Peru over 5,000 years ago and are the most widely eaten bean in the United States. Anasazi beans were first planted in the Southwest; they have a sweeter taste and cook faster than pinto beans.
Anasazi beans provide 150 calories per 1/4 cup of dry beans and five calories from fat. Pinto beans have slightly more calories at 167 total per 1/4-cup dry serving. When preparing and consuming either bean, remember that 1/4 cup of dry beans will almost double during cooking to make around 1/2 cup, which is a standard serving for beans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The total carbohydrate of Anasazi beans for a serving is 27 grams, or about 9 percent of the recommended carbohydrate intake for a 2,000-calorie diet. Of note, included in this total are 9 grams of dietary fiber, which is 36 percent of the recommended intake for daily fiber. Pinto beans provide slightly more carbohydrates with a total of 30 grams per serving and 7.5 grams of fiber.
The total protein content of both Anasazi and pinto beans is 10 grams per serving. The protein found in both types of beans is considered incomplete because it does not contain all of the essential amino acids -- the building blocks of protein. Getting all your amino acids can be a concern if you eat a vegetarian diet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating a variety of plant foods throughout the day to provide all essential amino acids if you do not eat animal proteins.
Vitamins and Minerals
Anasazi and pinto beans are both a source of iron. A serving of Anasazi beans provides 15 percent of the recommended daily requirement for iron, which makes it a good source, while pinto beans have less at about 7 percent. Pinto beans are an excellent source of folate, with more than 50 percent of the recommended daily intake, and a good source of potassium, with 19 percent of the recommended daily intake. Neither pinto nor Anasazi beans are a good source of calcium or vitamin C.
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- U.S. Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate: Beans and Peas Are Unique Foods
- Fitbit: Nutritional Information, Diet Info and Calories in Organic Anasazi Beans from Shiloh Farms
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pinto Beans, Mature Seeds, Raw
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Beans
Lindsay Stern is a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist who has been working in community and clinical nutrition since 2006. Currently she specializes in wellness and prevention and has been a certified Health and Wellness Coach since 2012. Stern holds Master of Public Health nutrition from the University of Minnesota.