Avoiding Beans to Avoid Uncomfortable Moments?
Here's how to enjoy beans without the bloat and gas!
Anyone following a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet would know how crucial beans are in their diet.
Besides soy products, beans are a significant protein provider and are the base for many meals.
READ MORE: The Best Vegan Protein Sources
Beans are also high in fiber which is essential for optimal gut health, keeping you full and regular. And contain nutrients and minerals our body needs to function optimally.
Oh, and it is super affordable and convenient!
There's just one problem... Beans can make you, uhum, gassy...
Bloating, cramping, gas, and indigestion are common after-effects of eating beans, making you feel uncomfortable and maybe a tad bit embarrassed ;-)
So how can you make beans less gassy, and what are the easiest beans to digest??
WHY ARE BEANS HARD TO DIGEST?
Beans are hard to digest due to two compounds - Lectins and oligosaccharides.
Most beans contain plant compounds called lectins, a family of proteins known for targeting sugars in the body. High-lectin foods can cause gas, bloating, and cramping. These can include beans, legumes, grains, and nightshade vegetables.
Beans such as kidney and navy beans also contain oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are complex sugars that are impossible to digest without some help, as humans do not produce the enzyme alpha-galactosidase needed to break them down properly.
This does not mean you should avoid all lectin-containing foods; you will miss out on many health benefits,
Instead, choose those with the least amount of lectins and lower in gas-producing carbohydrates and apply techniques to make beans less gassy.
EASIEST BEANS TO DIGEST
Here are the easiest beans to digest, starting from the least gassy to the worst culprits:
Lima/ Butter Beans
Kidney Beans (red and white)
HOW TO MAKE BEANS LESS GASSY
Buy The Most Digestible Beans With Lower Lectin Levels------
If you are sensitive to beans but still want to reap all the benefits, lentils, mung beans, and black-eyed beans are your best bet. Avoid beans higher on the spectrum, like soybeans and red kidney beans.
Introduce Beans Slowly To The Gut------
Beans are high in fiber, which can cause serious discomfort if your gut is not used to fiber. Start with half a cup of digestive-friendly beans every other day and see how your gut feels. If you're eating a higher lectin bean, start with a smaller serving size.
Soak Your Beans------
By soaking beans overnight, you will remove a good amount of the gas-producing carbohydrates and lectins. Soak for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight for up to 12 hours. Chickpeas can go as long as 24 hours as they take the longest to soften. Rinsing after soaking is crucial to get rid of all the residue.
Sprout Your Beans------
Another way to make beans more digestible is by sprouting them. Sprouting also makes the nutrients in beans more bioavailable as beans change from a protective capsule of a seed into a growing plant.
READ MORE: The Best Seeds To Sprout
Always Cook Beans------
Never eat beans raw; cook them to eliminate most of the lectins. Pressure cooking is a fantastic way to break down lectins for a smooth digestive experience. If you are using canned beans, rinse them thoroughly to remove the complex sugars that are difficult to digest and cause gas.
Add Kombu Or Wakame Seaweed When Cooking------
Seaweed helps to break down components, like phytic acid and lectins, that make beans and legumes harder to digest.
Add Spices To Help With Digestion------
Adding spices such as ginger, cumin, and turmeric to your dishes can help digestion. And it's best to avoid fruit or anything sugary with your beans as this causes fermentation in the gut.