Beans have an abundant source of protein, nutrients and fiber. However, many people have an initial problem with the intestinal gas that beans can bring on. This post will give you ten solutions to this possible problem.
I teach a Bargain Beans class for Community Ed. at Dixie State College in Southern Utah. And, one of the most commonly asked question is about beans and gas. And, here is a little poem I’ve heard that illustrates what can happen.
Beans, Beans, the magical fruit – The more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel – Let’s have beans for every meal.
Nobody wants to be passing gas after they have eaten beans. So, here are the top ten strategies for the ins and out of prevention:
- Realize there is an initial adjustment. Whenever you change your diet from a typical American diet that has a lot of acidic animal products and low fiber to an alkaline healthy vegan or vegetarian, high-fiber diet, you may have an initial adjustment for a few days with gas. Or, even if you switch from a healthy diet to a high-cholesterol diet, you will have gas. What happens when you mix alkaline baking soda with acidic vinegar?
- Start Small. Introduce the beans gradually. Add a few to salads and main dishes until your body gets used to it. There is a certain indigestible bean sugar that your digestive system will get used to eventually. A small amount won’t be a problem.
- Mix the beans with other foods in a meal. You most likely will not get gas if the beans are part of a bigger meal containing vegetables or grains. If you make bean gravy, there will also be potatoes or brown rice and some vegetables to help camouflage the beans and cover up the possible effects.
- Add one teaspoon of baking soda to each bean recipe if needed. This technique helps a lot of people, you can try it out at first and see if if works for you. The baking soda is alkaline where the beans are a little acidic. The combination helps to reduce gas.
- Cook the beans thoroughly until they are soft.You should be able to mash them between your finger and thumb. The more cooked they are, the less chance of gas. That’s why slow cookers work so great, you can cook the beans a long time without burning them.
- Soak the beans before using them. Soak the beans in triple the amount of water until you see bubbles at the top of the water, then drain and discard the soaking water and rinse the beans well before cooking.
- Sprout the beans a little before cooking them. After you have soaked the beans, put them into a sprouter or colander to rinse similar to the method for the mung beans at this link. If the beans aren’t too old, the beans should sprout about 1/4″, just a little white root coming out. At this point you can cook them.
- Don’t use old beans. The older the beans are, the more likely they are to give you gas. If the beans don’t sprout, it is a sign that they are getting too old. They are still edible, they just get harder to cook and contribute to the farting problem.
- Try the 3-10 method when cooking. I learned this method from a book called Who Killed Candida? Basically, you bring the beans to a boil, which can look pretty foamy, then let them boil for 10 minutes. Drain the beans and add fresh water and repeat the process two more times. This method lets a lot of the foaminess out that contributes to gas. You boil the beans in fresh water for 10 minutes each three times, hence the 3-10 method.
- Try Beano.It’s a product that people take a drop of before eating beans and it’s supposed to help them not get gas. Ask your local grocery store or natural foods store if they carry it.
Well, those are the basic ten things that I know about to help you adjust to the nutritional powerhouse that beans offer. If you don’t want to have beans and gas, you need to learn about the ins and outs of prevention.