Friday, March 20, 2009

Beans Without The Gas

I suspect there are a lot of people out there who don't eat beans because of gas. Excess gas can cause discomfort and sometimes actual pain as well as embarrassing flatulence. Judy at Savvy Vegetarian thinks that some new vegetarians give up for that very reason. People who are new to vegetarianism may well be suddenly eating a greater amount of beans and perhaps our bodies need a bit of time to adapt.

Once you understand the cause of gas, it's fairly easy to remedy. Beans contain a sugar called oligosaccharide and we lack the enzyme required to break the sugar down. When the sugar arrives in your lower intestinal tract intact, it ferments, creating a buildup of gas. The gas isn't absorbed into the intestine, so the body expels it, creating red faces all around.

The answer to this problem is pretty simple. Cook your own beans rather than using canned, and soak them thoroughly first to allow the sugar to leach out. To avoid having it re-absorbed into the beans, it's a good idea to change the soaking water a few times. Cooking the beans slowly also makes a difference. Adding the spice asafoetida, or Kombu which is a kelp or baking soda are all said to help break down the sugar. Rinse the beans after you have cooked them as well. Read more hints.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This is a great article! Being a meat eater, I never knew there was such a concern about gas when becoming vegetarian. I also found your comment about needing time to adapt interesting; according to the scientific-based article http://nutritionfacts.org/blog/2011/12/05/beans-and-gas-clearing-the-air/ that is exactly what we need! Apparently, a study found that while 35% of people had increased flatulence after the first week of eating beans, by week 8 that number was only 3%. At any rate, great article, thanks!!

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