Are pinto beans the secret to longevity?

I recently read an article about what you should eat to live to be 100 years old. I try my best to eat healthy most of the time, but occasionally indulge in something probably not terribly healthy that was made in a restaurant kitchen. Since it happens infrequently now, I savor every bite.

So, this how-to-live-to-100 article stated that the best foods for longevity, that you should eat at least three of each day, are: beans (black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, lentils); greens (spinach, kale, chard, beet tops, fennel tops, collards); sweet potatoes; nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans); olive oil (green, extra-virgin is best); oats (slow-cook or Irish steel-cut are best); barley (does the barley in beer count?); fruits (all kinds); green or herbal teas, and Turmeric (spice or tea).

IMG_4406 (Edited)

I was feeling pretty good about meeting those dietary recommendations, because I already eat most of those things. We start each day with a heart-healthy bowl of slow-cook or Irish steel-cut dressed with coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and pecans. The amount of oatmeal depends on whether or not we’re having eggs and bacon. I like to eat a big breakfast and have fuel for the day.

My husband told me long ago that his grandfather insisted that a bowl of pinto beans be served with every meal. I try to always keep pintos cooked and ready, and when I get tired of pintos, I switch to black beans. Lately, I’ve been throwing garbanzo beans into the mix by making homemade hummus.  Split pea soup counts in the legume category, too.


One cup of cooked pinto beans gives you 15 grams of protein and 62% of your daily recommended fiber. Black beans have a little more fiber, but pintos have more vitamin B6, providing 20% of your daily recommended amount. Both provide us with vitamins and minerals our bodies need.

Always sort and rinse your heart-healthy dried beans before cooking them. Be sure to pick out any rocks or dark beans.

The article said that you should minimize or eliminate meat, unless it’s fish. Well, darn. Looks like I’ve blown that part of that diet already, because I love meat, and fish just isn’t that easy to come by in the desert.

It also said that eggs should be eaten sparingly. Cheese, cream and dairy should be avoided. Eliminating eggs, butter, cheese, and a little dairy from my otherwise healthy diet would probably do me in. I don’t agree that’s totally healthy, anyway.

I do agree that you should eat your largest meal at breakfast, a mid-sized lunch and a small dinner, and that you should cook most of your meals at home.

There’s more to the list of what to eat to live to 100, but these were the high points for me. As with any dietary plan, everything is subject to each individual, and I am in no way an expert or giving any medical advice. I’m just sharing from my own personal experience.

At our current rate of eating beans and oatmeal as well as other items on the live-to-100 list, I think we’re on track to live to about 108, eggs and bacon or not.

Now, go make some beans.


A Pot of Pintos Beans
NOTE: I am not a fan of soaking beans overnight. I throw them in the pot on the stovetop and let them cook for hours, or I set the Instant Pot and have them ready in about an hour.

1 lb. dry pinto beans (I currently love the Casserole brand – always fresh and clean – choose the lightest colored beans you can find, they’re the freshest)

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 jalapeno


Salt and pepper to taste

Stovetop Method:
Sort, rinse and drain the beans. Place in a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Fill with enough water to cover beans at least 2 inches with water.

Place lid on the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Boil beans for 1 minute, then turn heat to low. Simmer 2-4 hours or until beans are tender. Do not add salt until the beans have cooked, then salt and pepper as desired.

Slow cooker Method:
Follow stovetop directions, but add beans to your slow cooker instead of a pot on the stove. Cook on high about 3-4 hours or until tender.

Instant Pot Method:
Add all ingredients to the pot of the Instant Pot. Close and lock lid and seal vent. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes for unsoaked beans, (or 8-10 minutes for soaked beans if you’ve thought ahead). Let pressure release naturally before removing the lid.


4 thoughts on “Are pinto beans the secret to longevity?

    1. HAHAHA … the secret’s out! I don’t like when pintos have so much other stuff in them that you can’t even taste the beans… unless it’s borracho beans. I like to keep it simple so they’re more versatile when using them up.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Almost daily!!! I have two stainless steel liners so that I don’t have to wait to cook another dish. I love it very, very much. I made delicious Cuban Black Beans yesterday in about an hour, no soaking. Best thing ever invented (besides refrigeration!)


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