Beans should serve as critical components of any diet. But while most people may get their beans only as part of their recipe for their burritos at Chipotle, beans are actually quite nutritious and should be considered a staple food in your diet. Not only are beans one of the best sources of complete protein but depending on the bean, they can also be high in other vital nutrients. Iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and many more can be obtained from kidney beans for example. Finally, beans are relatively cheap and can even be grown at home easily! So why is it that we are slacking on eating more of them? They make us gassy. Here’s why and how to prevent it.
Why Do Beans Make You Fart
To start with, let’s distinguish what beans and legumes are. A lot of people mix the two. But it’s simple. Legumes are just a class of vegetables which includes beans. It also includes peas and lentils.
If there’s anything that everyone knows about beans it’s that they make you gassy. But why is that? There’s a very simple reason for that. Beans (legumes) cause gas because they contain a type of sugar which is indigestible by our bodies. It’s called oligosaccharide. It’s a large molecule that is different from other sugars in the way our body handles it. It is not absorbed and broken down in the small intestine.
Instead, our bodies rely on bacteria to break these sugars down. As a result of this process aided by gases produced by your body, 1/3 of microbes end up producing methane gas. Once the methane builds up pressure on the anal sphincter, watch out. Oligosaccharides that are passed down to the large intestine serve as food for a number of bacteria. But this is not a bad thing because some of the bacteria is crucial to our health. They are responsible for creating vitamins that get absorbed in your body and also producing antibodies that help fight of infections.
However, studies and doctors say that our concerns about beans and flatulence may be exaggerated. Legumes are rich in protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals. They also can all vary in the amount of oligosaccharides they contain.
Other Foods High in Oligosaccharides
- Veggies: asparagus, broccoli, artichoke, beetroot, shallot, pea, onion, brussel sprouts, fennel, cabbage, garlic, leek, okra
- Cereals: wheat and rye cereals when eaten in large quantities
- Legumes: baked beans, chickpea, red kidney bean, lentil
- Fruits: Persimmon, rambutan, watermelon, white peach, custard apple
How To Prevent Gas From Beans (Legumes)
The best way I found to prevent gas from beans is by using something called Kombu. It’s a seaweed from the Pacific used in Japan and far east Asia. Add a piece of Kombu seaweed (typically a package contains a square, I use half of that) when cooking or soaking your beans. This makes the beans not only easier to digest but also makes them more nutritious and add a little extra taste! Get some here.
Some other ways include adding spices that help you digest. Turmeric, asafetida, and ginger not only are incredibly healthy but can help you conquer your flatulence troubles with beans.
Here are some other tips for better bean digestion:
-Don’t mix beans and potatoes in your meal.
-Eat only one protein in your meal.
-Aduki, dhal and mung beans are easiest to digest. Start with them.
-Chew your beans well, as digestion starts in the mouth.
-Sugary foods and fruits, should be eaten 2-3 hours apart from a bean meal.
-Have a well-balanced meal and diet.
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