Beans are crazily good for us, but what do you feel after eating a serving? Intestinal gas, right? Bean flatulence is a common problem, which can be prevented.
The problem is, beans contain indigestible carbohydrates like oligosaccharides, which aren’t digested by the body. This type of carbs is digested by the gut bacteria, causing gas. It doesn’t mean you should stop eating beans, though.
You can reap all the health benefits they offer while preventing bean flatulence with the following tips:
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1. Soak before cooking
Soaking beans before cooking can help to reduce the amount of oligosaccharides by up to 58%. (1)
Moreover, soaking will also speed up the cooking process. If you forget to soak beans overnight, you can discard the cooking water after they’re done.
This will help you to eliminate some oligosaccharides from beans and lower the risk of gas and bloat. You can also wash your cooked beans before adding them to your stews or salads. By cooking beans, you won’t only prevent gas but also save money.
2. Pay attention to the kind of beans you eat
When you’re prone to bean flatulence, choosing the right kind of beans is essential. For instance, black beans are a lot easier to digest than kidney or navy beans.
Lentils are also easier to digest than soybeans and chickpeas, for example. You can mix beans to reduce the likelihood of gas and bloat.
3. Let baking soda help you
Baking soda is used in a variety of meals, but have you ever used it when cooking beans? Baking soda helps to make the boiling water more alkaline, decreasing the content of oligosaccharides in beans.
Moreover, it can help to speed up the cooking process, especially if you cook white beans.
4. Consume extremely soft beans
The softer your beans, the less likely you are to experience gas and bloat. If you cook dried beans which have been soaked overnight, ensure you cook them for up to 45 minutes.
If you’re going to eat canned beans, boiling them for a few minutes before serving will aid in preventing bean flatulence.
5. Rinse canned beans well
Whether you’re going to add canned beans to your meals or eat them right from the can, don’t forget to rinse them well. This way, you’ll remove at least a portion of hard-to-digest carbs and won’t experience gas after eating beans.
6. Add carminatives
A lot of cultures that consume beans on a daily basis add carminatives to their bean-loaded meals. Carminatives are known for their abilities to lower gas production. (2)
Carminatives like epazote, asafetida, bohnenkraut, kombu, and cumin, are used in different cuisines to add flavor to bean-loaded meals and ward off bloating. More research is required to prove the fact that carminatives treat gas.
7. Serve beans with easily digestible grains
Eating beans with easily digestible grains like rice, amaranth, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa, can also help you avoid bean flatulence. Easily digestible grains aids in diluting the oligosaccharides. Add spices like turmeric or ginger to enhance digestion.
8. Eat mindfully
Eating mindfully means eating slowly, chewing each piece of food thoroughly. When you chew slowly, you promote the natural production of saliva that has vital digestive enzymes.
The increased production of these enzymes, which eventually get into the stomach, aids in enhancing the digestive process. Plus, mindful eating improves nutrient absorption.
9. Drink more water
It’s recommended to drink a glass of water to prevent overeating and promote weight loss. It can also prevent bean flatulence. If you eat a lot of hard-to-digest carbs, it’s critical that you sip some beverage or lemon water to improve your digestion.
Drinking a glass of water after your meal can also be helpful for those who suffer from bloating.
10. Opt for digestive aids
In rare cases, you can opt for over-the-counter digestive aids to treat gas. They include enzymes, which aid in better digesting the oligosaccharides found in beans.
People following a high-bean diet tend to take digestive aids in order to boost their tolerance to beans. You shouldn’t always rely on these medications, though.
11. Reduce your bean intake
Beans are overflowing with essential nutrients, so they should be a part of your meal plan. If they make you bloated, try limiting your bean intake to 2-4 servings per week.
If you still feel gassy or bloated after a meal, there might be another reason for it. See your doctor to find out the reason.
The final word
Beans are among the healthiest foods to eat for optimal health. If you haven’t been eating beans because of bloating, you can now enjoy them on a daily basis.
In fact, oligosaccharides are prebiotics that stimulate the growth of good gut bacteria. Follow the moderation rule and you’ll never be afraid of beans again.