Beans are a nutritional powerhouse. They often get a bad rap for causing a lot of gas- but with these cooking tips, they don't have to.
Chockful of Nutrients
Beans contain fiber, protein, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, calcium & B-vitamins folate and vitamin B1~ and more! Many of these nutrients are difficult to get enough of, especially on vegetarian and vegan diets. These nutrients are essential for energy production, digestive health, mood, immune system, and maintaining muscle mass and bone density, just to name a few.
Beans are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has several health benefits- including lowering LDL cholesterol, balancing blood sugar, detoxification, regular bowel movements, and healthy weight loss. Soluble fiber works by absorbing water and creating a gel. This gel slows down digestion and helps you feel full and satisfied. However, increasing your fiber intake too quickly can result in gas and bloating. Take it slow- one extra serving at a time.
Phytates and Lectins are other nutrients in beans that can contribute to gas and bloating. They are considered “anti-nutrients” because they decrease the absorption of certain minerals- calcium, magnesium, and zinc. That might sound scary or confusing, but they are nothing to worry about. The health benefits of these foods outweigh the negatives of these “anti-nutrients”. There are several cooking methods to reduce these phytates and lectins so that your beans and legumes will cause less gas.
Cooking Tips to Reduce Gas:
Soak dried beans in filtered water overnight.
Consider sprouting the beans simply by soaking beans for several days, changing the water twice daily. Sprouting occurs at room temperature.
Drain the soaked beans and rinse thoroughly
Cook beans until VERY soft.
Add bay leaves and kombu (a seaweed) to beans at the start of cooking.
Add fennel or cumin near the end of cooking.
Add a little apple cider vinegar near the end of cooking.
Wait to salt the beans until they are completely cooked.
Cook beans with a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot.
If using canned beans, purchase pre-soaked beans such as Jovial Foods brand. Always rinse and discard the canned bean water.
CHEW, CHEW, CHEW! Chewing your food completely is essential for optimal digestion- and less gas. Digestion starts in the mouth!
Try lentils- they are smaller and easier to digest. Check out my favorite fall lentil recipe:
https://thefirstmess.com/2020/02/19/sweet-potato-coconut-milk-stew/ (Double the lentils or use bone or chicken broth to up the protein.)
Consider Digestive Enzymes:
Digestive enzymes are compounds that help break down food for easy digestion. Raw fruits and vegetables contain enzymes naturally. Enzyme activity is highest in ripe produce just after harvest. Cooking kills enzymes. Our bodies also produce some digestive enzymes, however as we age our bodies tend to produce less. That is why it can be very helpful to take digestive enzymes with meals.
Our supplement dispensary is open to everyone! Purely Rooted clients always receive 15% off. Some of our faves include:
Transformation Enzymes Digest
Designs for Health Plant Enzyme Digestive Formula
Experience acid reflex and heartburn often? You may need Betaine Hcl with your enzymes - Try Designs for Health Digestzymes
Need more support? Consider scheduling an appointment for more guidance!