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How to Cook Beans to Prevent Gas

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"How to Cook Beans to Prevent Gas"
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You don't have to deny yourself the flavor and nutrition of beans and other legumes because you're afraid of getting gas or indigestion!

It is not true that beans must always cause gas. Although there are some people who will claim by experience that they now refuse to eat beans because of fear of gas and indigestion, this fear is denying them a delicious and high-protein food which is also low in fat and therefore excellent for weight control.

The truth is that beans which are properly prepared are palatable producing no, or at most minimal, gas.

Here are two things you must do when cooking beans, to ensure that gas-causing substances in the beans are eliminated, or at least reduced to negligible amounts which will prevent indigestion and flatulence:

1. ALWAYS SOAK BEANS IN UNSALTED WATER: Beans contain a sugar (oligosaccharide) which does not usually digest in the human stomach because most of us lack the enzyme to break it down. As a result, this sugar commonly found in most beans moves to the large intestine where it is then digested by bacteria. These normally-occurring bacteria in the large intestine produce gas during the process of digesting the bean sugar. Soaking your beans in cool, unsalted, water for at least 6 hours will remove or greatly reduce this gas-producing sugar. Make sure you thoroughly rinse your beans, in a colander, before and after soaking them.

2. NEVER EAT BEANS RAW: Many types of beans, including kidney, white, and red beans contain a toxin (phytohaemagglutinin) which can cause nausea and vomiting from eating just a few raw beans. The heat during the boiling period removes this toxin from the beans. Although some sources recommend boiling beans for at least 10 minutes, my own experience recommends a longer time, increasing the boiling time to at least one hour, so you will ensure that all the toxin is boiled out and that the beans are soft, well-cooked, and tender.

Here are some other suggestions to help make your beans tastier and more digestible:

RINSE THE BEANS DURING THE SOAKING PERIOD AND REPLACE SOAKING WATER: At least one time during the soaking period, about half-way through, pour your beans into a colander and rinse with running water. Then put the beans back into the soaking pot or bowl and refill with fresh soaking water.

DON'T ADD SALT RIGHT AWAY DURING COOKING: Adding salt too early in the boiling process stops the softening process which will result in tough-tasting beans which can contribute to indigestion. Don't add any salt until at least half-way through boiling, or until about a half hour into cooking.

SPICES THAT REDUCE INDIGESTION: Besides adding flavor to your beans, there are spices which can actually reduce indigestion. Try adding a quarter-teaspoon or so of cumin and turmeric to the beans when you begin boiling. Also a slice of fresh ginger (or a teaspoon or so of powdered) and a few sprigs of chopped fresh parsley (a teaspoon or so of dried form) will improve flavor and palatability.

Doing these things will produce great-tasting beans which are tender and will be easy on your stomach too!

More about this author: Mary Curtis

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