Week 8: Beans

10 lbs of Pinto and 2.5 lbs of Lima Beans


After this week, you should have 10 lbs of Pinto Beans and 2.5 lbs of Lima Beans stored. This is the program goal. This is the only week we address Pinto Beans and Lima Beans.

Beans are commonly eaten around the world and are a rich source of fiber and B vitamins. They are also a great replacement for meat as a source of vegetarian protein. Beans and legumes have a number of health benefits (see below). However, everyone is particular about which beans they perfer. While we highlight Pinto and Lima beans in this module, store those which your family currently uses. Keep in mind that as the program continues, we will also cover white beans (weeks 21 and 42), kidney beans (week 36), soy beans (week 42), and black beans (week 44).

The health benefits of Beans:

  • Fiber- They are a great source of fiber. That's important because most Americans don't get the recommended 25 to 38 grams each day. Fiber helps keep you regular and seems to protect against heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and digestive illness.

  • Protein- Beans are also a great way to get low-fat, low-calorie protein that already has the fiber and carbs mixed in. A single cup has around 15 grams of protein. That's two to three times more than rice or wheat. It's especially good for a protein building block called lysine that you might not get enough of if you're a vegetarian.

  • Lower BMI- If you make it a habit to eat beans, you're more likely to have a lower body weight, slimmer waist, and a lower body mass index (BMI). Studies show that obese men on a protein-rich diet lost more weight with beans as their top protein source.

  • Good for the Heart- You'll also do your ticker a favor if you make beans a regular part of your diet. Studies show it can lower your LDL "bad" cholesterol.

  • Diabetic? Did you know that eating a variety of beans not only seems to help prevent diabetes, it also appears to help control the high blood sugar that is both a cause and symptom of the disease?

  • Iron- Soy beans are also a great source of iron. Your body uses iron to make blood proteins (hemoglobin and myoglobin) that help move oxygen around your body. It's also a key nutrient for your hormones, and connective tissue like tendons and ligaments.

  • Magnesium- Beans are also a great source of magnesium. Magnesium helps make protein and bone, and stabilizes blood sugar. Black beans are a particularly good source of magnesium at 120 milligrams in a single cup. That's about a third of the recommended daily amount. Try the tried-and-true combination of black beans and rice.

  • Potassium- Beans have quite a bit of potassium, especially lima beans, which will give you almost 1,000 milligrams per cup. That's about double what you'll get from a banana.

  • Zinc- Your cells need it to fight off germs, make genetic material, and heal wounds. It helps children develop properly and aids your senses of smell and taste. A cup of chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, has about 2.4 milligrams. That's about a quarter of what you need for the day.

  • Folate- You'll get about 300 micrograms, or three-quarters of the recommended daily amount, in just one cup of pinto beans. Folate is especially important for women who are pregnant or trying to have a baby because it helps prevent certain birth defects.

  • Heart Benefits- It's also good for heart health, cell division, and your nervous system.

  • What about the gas? There is one downside to beans. You may get gas if you suddenly add a lot of beans to your diet. It's not usually unhealthy, but it can be unpleasant. You should get less gas after the first week, as your body gets used to it. Drinking plenty of water can help. So can over-the-counter meds like Beano. Preparation makes a difference, too. You'll get less gas from dried beans if you soak them overnight and throw away the water. While there are many kinds of beans, we cover two of the more popular beans, Pinto and Lima. Choose which beans you want to store. Store what you use and use what you store.

Pinto Beans

Because their texture is very smooth, pinto beans may be used in virtually all methods of bean preparation. Purée them for soup-bases or use them in casseroles, refry them for frijoles refritos (refried beans) and use them in burritos. Use pinto beans to make chili, soups, and stews, or use them in salads or in Mexican dishes. They can also be puréed and used as a spread or dip.

Nutritional Value:

Pinto beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate, and a good source of protein, vitamin B1, and vitamin B6 as well as the minerals copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Pinto Beans Warning:

Pinto beans contain several complex carbohydrates that are not readily digested. To increase digestibility and reduce intestinal distress, discard the waters used for soaking and cooking because much of this indigestible carbohydrate dissolves into the water.

How to Store:

Store dried beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for up to 12 months. If you purchase pinto beans at different times, store them separately; they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times.

Lima Beans

While there are many varieties of lima beans, the ones that are most popular in the U.S. are the Fordhook, commonly known as the butterbean (because of their starchy yet buttery texture), and the baby lima bean. Lima beans come in a pod. Within the pod resides two to four flat kidney-shaped seeds that are what we generally refer to as lima beans. The seeds are generally cream or green in color, although certain varieties feature colors such as white, red, purple, brown or black. Lima beans feature a starchy, potato-like taste and a grainy, yet slightly buttery, texture. Lima beans have a delicate flavor that complements a wide variety of dishes. Although fresh lima beans are often difficult to find, they are worth looking for in the summer and fall when they are in season. Dried and canned lima beans are available throughout the year.

Nutritional Value:

Lima beans are an excellent source of molybdenum and a very good source of dietary fiber, copper and manganese. Lima beans are good sources of folate, phosphorus, protein, potassium, vitamin B1, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6.

Lima Bean Warning:

While uncooked lima beans contain compounds that can inhibit a digestive enzyme and cause red blood cells to clump together, soaking and cooking the beans renders these compounds harmless. Therefore, it is important to always eat soaked and cooked beans and not to use them uncooked, for example, grinding dried beans into flour.

How to Store:

Store dried lima beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for up to six months. If you purchase the beans at different times, store them separately since they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times. As cooked lima beans are very perishable, they will only keep fresh for one day even if placed in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Fresh lima beans should be stored whole, in their pods, in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep fresh for a few days. Frozen lima beans do not need to be thawed before being cooked.

Misc Info on both Pinto and Lima Beans

  • Other Health Benefits- Pinto and Lima beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, these beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, pinto and lima beans provide virtually fat-free, high quality protein.

  • Sensitive to Sulfites? Pinto and Lima beans are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.

  • A Fiber All-Star- Check a chart of the fiber content in foods and you'll see legumes leading the pack. Both Pinto and Lima beans, like other beans, are rich in dietary fiber. For this reason, pinto, lima, and other beans are useful foods for people with irregular glucose metabolism, such as diabetics and those with hypoglycemia, because beans have a low glycemic index rating. This means that blood glucose (blood sugar) does not rise as high after eating beans as it does when compared to many other foods. This beneficial effect is probably due to two factors: the presence of higher amounts of absorption-slowing protein in the beans, and their high soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the metabolism of the bean's carbohydrates. The presence of fiber is also the primary factor in the cholesterol-lowering power of beans. Fiber binds with the bile acids that are used to make cholesterol. Fiber isn't absorbed, so when it exits the body in the feces, it takes the bile acids with it. As a result, the body may end up with less cholesterol. Beans also contain insoluble fiber, which research studies have shown not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

Page updated: 10/13/20