Over a period of approximately 7 months, relatively small daily servings of pinto beans have recently been shown to help lower cholesterol. Only ½ cup of the beans per day reduced total cholesterol, on average, by about 19 milligrams. LDL cholesterol also showed an average decrease of about 14 milligrams. Interestingly, two other very healthy and fiber-rich foods - carrots and black-eyed peas - did not have this same impact. While we don't yet know the reasons for this special link between pinto beans and their cholesterol-lowering effect, persons who have special concern about their cholesterol levels may want to give special priority to this tasty legume. It should be noted that the subjects in this study had already developed mild insulin resistance prior to participating in the study, and so we cannot yet be sure how well pinto beans will lower cholesterol in persons who do not have mild insulin resistance.
Donna M. Winham, DrPH, Andrea M. Hutchins, PhD and Carol S. Johnston, PhD. Pinto Bean Consumption Reduces Biomarkers for Heart Disease Risk. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 26, No. 3, 243-249 (2007).