Improving the digestibility of beans

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beans and other legumes are essential to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. They provide healthy amounts of plant-based protein, fiber, and iron. That being said, though, many people avoid them for fear of the gas and bloating that they can cause. Here are five ways to help improve their digestibility and minimize gas factor:

  1. Soak dry beans overnight before cooking. Replace the water with fresh water before cooking.
  2. Be sure to thoroughly cook dry beans. Do not add any salt or vinegar until they have finished cooking as those may interfere with the softening of the beans.
  3. Try adding a little vinegar or seasonings such as coriander or cumin to thoroughly cooked beans.
  4. Thoroughly rinse canned beans or lentils before using.
  5. Add a 4-6 inch strip of kombu seaweed (more on sea vegetables) to the pot when cooking beans to help break down the gas-causing sugars. This will also increase their nutritional value and improve their flavor.

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