Pinto beans, also called the mottled beans (for their mottled skin), belong to the group of other beans, like kidney beans, navy beans and black beans. Pinto beans are scientifically called the Phaseolus vulgaris. They have a beige background, strewn with scattered colors of reddish brown. They look like painted works and hence are named pinto, which in Spanish means “painted”. However, the colored splashes disappear when the beans are cooked and they turn pink, with an attractive creamy texture. Pinto beans are available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Both dried and canned varieties of the beans are available throughout the year. Pinto beans originated in Peru and spread rapidly throughout South and Central America. In the 15th century, they made their first appearance in Europe. Since they make an inexpensive source of rich protein, they grew extremely popular all over the world in a short span of time. Today, the beans are regarded as a highly nutritious food, containing rich content of fiber, vitamins, proteins, iron and several minerals. We bring you the health benefits of pinto beans, in this article.
Health Benefits Of Eating Pinto Beans
- Pinto beans, like most of the other beans, are rich in fibers that are known for lowering cholesterol.
- The beans are rich in fiber, which restrains the blood sugar level from rising rapidly after a meal. Because of this factor, they prove to be an excellent food for individuals suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
- Pinto beans help in stabilizing the blood sugar levels, while providing consistent slow-burning energy to the body.
- The soluble fibers present in these beans form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, which links with the bile and removes it from the body.
- Pinto beans also contain insoluble fibers, which prevent constipation and also help increase the stool bulk. Several digestive disorders, like the bowel syndrome and diverticulosis, can be prevented by regular intake of pinto beans.
- The beans are rich in molybdenum, folate, manganese, protein, vitamin B1 and minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and copper, which are highly beneficial to health.
- Pinto beans enrich the body with fat-free high quality protein, when eaten with combination of whole grains like brown rice.
- The beans prove highly helpful in preventing heart diseases. They are rich in fiber, folate, magnesium and potassium, all of which play significant role in preventing the heart diseases.
- Pinto beans are extremely helpful for people sensitive to sulfites. Sulfites are the preservatives added to foods like salads. People sensitive to sulfites may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation after consuming them in high amount. However, the molybdenum present in pinto beans detoxifies sulfites and proves extremely helpful.
- The beans are highly healthy for menstruating women, pregnant women, lactating women, growing children and adolescents, who have a greater need for iron in their body.
- Pinto beans have an added advantage of being fat-free, unlike the red meat. Thus, they are richer source of iron, in comparison to the red meat.
- The manganese and copper present in the beans are important cofactors of the oxidative enzyme called superoxide dismutase. This enzyme disarms free radicals created inside the mitochondria.
- The copper present in pinto beans promotes the activity of lysyl oxidase. Lysyl oxidase is an enzyme engaged in cross-linking collage and elastin, which in turn build up the ground substance and flexibility in bones, joints and blood vessels.
- Both the iron and copper present in the beans help in hemoglobin synthesis.
- Pinto beans also contain vitamin B, which is not only active in energy production, but also has important brain cell/cognitive function. It helps in the synthesis of acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter required for memory.
- Pinto beans contain purines, which can cause health related problems in people sensitive to purines. Purines can be broken down to uric acid and hence excess intake of purines will lead to accumulation of uric acid. Gout and kidney stones are the two common problems associated with uric acid. However, recent research shows that purines’ risk from pinto beans is negligible in comparison to that of meat and fish.
- Pinto beans can be cooked faster if they are presoaked before cooking. However, take care that before cooking, you drain off the soaked water and rinse the beans properly under cold water.
- You can presoak the beans in either of the two ways. Either simply soak them in water for eight hours (or overnight) or boil them for two minutes and then allow them to stand for two hours.
- Before cooking pinto beans, you should wash them properly. Spread them on a plate and remove small stones, debris and the damaged beans. Then, keep the beans in a strainer and wash them properly under the cold running water.
- You can cook pinto beans in a pressure cooker as well as in a pan, though the former way is faster.
- Do not add any salt or acidic content to the beans before they are cooked, as this will make them tough and increase the cooking time to a greater extent.