Scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, Pinto beans are a common variety of beans. These common beans are an extremely popular ingredient in most of the Mexican dishes. Other beans of this family are kidney beans, navy beans, and black beans.
Pinto beans are also commonly known by several other names such as Bush bean, Dwarf bean, Haricot bean, etc. Pinto beans grow on the plant that thrives in hot long summer days. They can easily be planted domestically as they are quite easy to grow.
What Do Pinto Beans Look Like?
Pinto beans are usually about 8-20 cm long. They are oblong and slightly curved in the middle. You might find them in various colors such as green, purple, yellow, or black. However, mostly pinto beans are beige with splashes of red-colored patches. Despite their appearance, once cooked, the pinto beans turn completely pink or brown.
Pinto beans have an amazing nutty flavor in their cream-colored flesh. Their flavor is delectable and pairs exceptionally well with brown rice, curries, sauces, salads, etc.
Some Facts about Pinto Beans
- Pinto beans are said to have originated in America.
- India and Brazil are the two countries that are regarded as the top countries that produce dry and green beans.
- Other countries that produce and distribute pinto beans commercially include several Asian countries, Africa, South, and North America, Oceania, and Europe.
- Green immature pods of the pinto beans are consumed as a vegetable in numerous regions of the world.
- The leaves of the plant of pinto beans are also utilized as vegetables in Southeast Asia.
- Pinto beans are the star of the burrito. They are used in the filling of burritos.
Pinto Beans are loaded with Nutrients
The primary components of pinto beans are carbohydrate, protein, and fiber. They are an incredible source of fiber that benefits our body in countless ways. From aiding in losing weight to keeping our blood sugar levels under control, fiber is the most prized nutrient in the beans.
A single cup of pinto beans (approx. 171 grams) contains about 15 grams of fiber and 245 calories. Moreover, the same quantity of pinto beans provides you with 45 grams of carbs, 15 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of fat. The calorie-rich and fiber laden pinto beans are an amazing addition to your daily diet.
Besides carbs, fiber, and protein, these beans are also an excellent source of sodium, thiamine, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Thiamine in the pinto beans helps regain the energy in our body as it catalyzes the conversion of food into energy.
The essential minerals in pinto beans, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium, also improve heart health and overall body functions. As you can note, these beans are absolutely cholesterol free with a minimal amount of sodium. What could be more of a better composition for promoting a healthy body?
Health Benefits of Pinto Beans
- Take All The Fiber You Can
Fiber is like gold for our bodies – it soothes the digestive system, maintains the blood sugar levels, and controls the blood pressure. Moreover, it also helps in losing some of those extra pounds you have been trying to get rid of. Fiber is fundamentally a carb found in plant foods that cannot be digested.
As it cannot be absorbed in the small intestine, it goes on to the colon and large intestine where it feeds the good bacteria and provides bulk to the stool. Hence, fiber is also an effective treatment for constipation. Incorporating pinto beans in your daily diet helps promote good gut health while also aiding the digestion process.
- Great Antioxidant Properties
Polyphenols and flavonoids are the compounds in pinto beans that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are compounds that help prevent cell damage by free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can be a dangerous source of chronic disease if left in the body for long.
Furthermore, kaempferol, a type of flavonoid present in pinto beans, has shown promising prospects for numerous health benefits, including repressing the growth of various cancer cells. Though the scientific investigation on kaempferol is in initial stages, the future looks promising. This flavonoid is also related to decreased inflammation, leading to a lower risk of stroke.
- Aids in Controlling High Blood Sugar Levels
Pinto beans might be high in carbs, but they are an excellent source of curbing sudden sparks in the blood glucose levels. Foods that have high carbs count along with high fiber content have generally low Glycemic Index (GI).
Such foods are digested very slowly, due to fiber in them, and thus prevent a sudden rise in the blood sugar levels even with the carb content. Pinto beans are also known for improving the blood glucose balance. Therefore, people with type-2 diabetes should incorporate pinto beans in their diet.
- Effective For a Healthy Heart
Pinto beans are claimed to decrease the bad cholesterol in our blood. This is extremely crucial in promoting a healthy heart as increased levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) take a toll on our heart and render it vulnerable to burnout.
Furthermore, propionate, a short-chain fatty acid, has also shown promising results for decreasing blood cholesterol levels. Pinto beans not only help promote our heart health by lowering the LDL but also by producing propionate.
Thirdly, potassium in the pinto beans also contributes towards good heart health. Potassium in our blood helps regulate the fluid balance, which in turn prevents dehydration and high blood pressure.
- Aids Weight Loss
Pinto beans offer a combination of protein and fiber that is extremely effective for fueling your body with nutrients while keeping you full for a long time. You can easily get rid of extra munching in between meals by incorporating pinto beans in your daily diet.
Tips for Selecting, Storing, and Cooking Pinto Beans
- Similar to buying any other type of bean, make sure that there are no insects or moist beans.
- Pinto beans are available in packaged as well as unpackaged forms in the grocery stores.
- When buying canned pinto beans, make sure to get the one that does not have added salt to it.
- Dried beans can be easily stored in a clean and dry container in a cool place.
- Pinto beans should be washed before cooking. You can also spread the beans on a big flat tray and look for any debris or stones or damaged beans before cooking.
- After removing the debris or damaged beans, wash them with water,
- It is best to soak the pinto beans overnight. This will reduce their cooking time.
- Boil the pinto beans, and you can store them in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
- Pinto beans pair up well with chicken broth or vegetable curries.
- Sautéing boiled beans with garlic, onion, or cilantro also enhances their taste and turns out amazing.
Pinto beans are a complete package for a healthy body. Laden with protein, fiber, and carbs, pinto beans are exceptionally effective in curbing excessive weight gain. They are an excellent source of antioxidants that help decrease the risk of developing chronic disease. Pinto beans also help in regulating blood sugar levels along with lowering the bad cholesterol levels.