Are Refried Beans Healthy?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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Are refried beans healthy? It is healthy but that is predicated on how it is prepared and cooked. Refried beans are basically cooked pinto beans that are pan fried in lard and a little salt. The only thing that makes refried beans a little unhealthy is being fried in lard. One tablespoon of lard is 5 grams of saturated fat and if you want to make it healthier you can replace the lard with plant-based oils like olive oil.

Beans are rich in vitamins, fibers and minerals which help with heart and digestive health.  The magnesium in beans can help reduce your blood pressure levels and iron. Magnesium also helps to support immune health and supports blood production.

Are refried beans healthy? Photo credit: iStock- WS Studio

Here are the nutrition facts in refried beans.

  • Calories- 234
  • Protein- 13 grams
  • Fat- 5 grams
  • Carbs- 35 grams
  • Fiber- 10 grams
  • Iron- 20% of the Daily Value
  • Magnesium- 20% of the Daily Value
  • Sodium- 64% of the Daily Value
  • Zinc- 14% of the Daily Value

Fiber is one of the nutrients that provides a lot of health benefits such as improving heart health. There are research review studies that have shown that eating fiber foods has a 7 to 24% lower risk of heart disease. The magnesium and potassium in beans can potentially help lower blood pressure levels.

Beans are low in the Glycemic Index which can help reduce blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes. Research studies show that eating low GI food can help reduce blood sugar levels.

Because beans are high in fiber this can help with improving gut health. Fiber can act as a prebiotic that can help to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Refried beans are good for weight loss because it is high in fiber.  A research study found that 246 women who ate beans regularly improved body fat loss composition. One cup of pinto beans contains 220 calories and 0 fat, but refried beans contain 234 calories and 5 grams of fat.

One cup of refried beans contains 962 mg of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends 1500 mg of sodium per day. And the average American consumed about 3400 mg per day which exceeds the upper limit. So, the sodium content in one cup of beans is a little higher than the average cup of beans,

Excessive sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and potential heart failure.

The Bottom Line is refried beans are healthy depending on how it is cooked and prepared. If it is pan fried in lard, then that increases the saturated fat consumption. But if you cook it in plant-based oils like olive oil then that is much healthier. One cup of refried beans contains fiber, protein, carbs, iron, magnesium, zinc, etc. which are all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

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