Apr 132011
 

[Photo-plate of mixed beans]

Beans are a great source of healthy antioxidants and nutrients like calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium.  They are generally low in fat, high in protein, and provide lots of beneficial fiber that help lower blood cholesterol and help you stay satiated long after a meal.  They can be used in soups and stews.  Unfortunately, many people are not able to digest a starchy sugar in beans called “oligosaccharides”.  The inability to digest this complex sugar often create gas problems for people.  These larger sugar molecules passes through the small intestines undigested, leaving it as food for the bacteria in the large intestine.  As the bacteria feeds on this sugar and multiply in the intestine, they produce more and more gas.  This eventually causes bloating and flatulence for people.

To combat the gas problem, there are several easy techniques that can be used.  The fastest method is to take natural enzyme tablets like Beano, which works by breaking down the oligosaccharides into smaller sugars that our bodies can digest.  Another easy method is to soak your dried beans before cooking.  I’ve laid out the easy steps below to prepare your beans so you won’t have gas problems after eating.

Quick Hot Soak:

  1. Spread the dried beans in a large colander or strainer and remove any tiny stones or debris.  Rinse thoroughly with water.
  2. Place beans in a pot and add cool water 3 times the volume of the beans.  Bring the water to boil over medium heat for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Leave the hot pot covered and let the beans soak for 1-2 hours depending on how much starch you want to remove.  This step dissolves some of the indigestible starch.
  4. Drain away the soaking water and rinse the soaked beans with cool water before cooking.  Do not use the soaking water for cooking.

Gas-Free Soak:

  1. Spread the dried beans in a large colander or strainer and remove any tiny stones or debris.  Rinse thoroughly with water.
  2. Place beans in a pot and add cool water 3 times the volume of the beans.  Bring the water to boil over medium heat for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Leave the hot pot covered and let the beans soak overnight.  This step will dissolve most of the indigestible starch.
  4. Drain away the soaking water and rinse the soaked beans with cool water before cooking.  Do not use the soaking water for cooking.

After soaking your dried beans, you can follow one of these delicious bean soup recipes to enjoy them.

One thing to note here is that fermented bean products like fermented black beans, fermented soy beans, natto, or other fermented bean pastes should not cause intestinal problems.  This is because yest in the fermentation process will break down the offending oligosaccharides.

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  One Response to “Tip: Soak Beans to Avoid Gas Problems”

  1. I usually do the quick soak with almonds when I forget to put them into water the evening before. (After giving up dairy and due to not tolerating soy milk, almond milk is my best friends, and I make fresh one in my blender almost every morning.) However, I’ve never tried it with legumes, which I usually soak for several hours at least. Same with brown rice. This way, the tummy is always happy! :)

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