Beans, beans, the magical fruit.
There are hundreds of different types of beans.
Beans are an incredibly healthy and versatile addition to any diet. Since they are easily dried and stored for long periods, they have traditionally been an integral part of cuisines from all over the world. Think of Indian Dahl, Lebanese Falafel, Mexican refried beans.
Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils. They naturally contain tons of protein and are chock full of antioxidants, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber, are typically low in fat, and contain no cholesterol.
Health Canada advises eating beans and lentils in place of meat to reduce saturated fat and increase fibre. Studies have revealed that eating legumes can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce elevated blood pressure, and may even cut the risk of prostate and breast cancers.
The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends adding legumes to your diet to help lower the glycemic index and increase the fiber content of your diet. Research suggests that eating legumes can substantially reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Eating only a half cup (125 ml) lowered fasting glucose and insulin levels.
If beans are so delicious and good for us, why don't more people eat them? One of the excuses I hear most often is.... farting. Yes, we are grown ups and we can say that word without giggling like a school boy! You know it's true. Beans do have a bad reputation for causing flatulence.
Let's get one thing straight. Gas is normal. As the fiber in beans is broken down by the microflora in our gut, fermentation occurs and gas is a by-product of this fermentation. This is Mother Nature at work. The big question is: How can we eat more beans and avoid embarrassment in the office and dirty looks at yoga class?
When you change your diet it takes time for your digestive system to adjust; months and maybe even years. The microflora in your intestines is in tune with what you usually eat, so when you change your diet, you need to develop a whole new microflora to help you digest these new foods.
Gas production generally depends on several factors: your digestive system, the type of beans you eat, how much you eat, how the beans are cooked, and what foods you eat with the beans.
Here are 8 handy tips to reduce the gasiness you may experience from eating beans:
1- When using dried beans, soak your beans before cooking. Discard the soaking water. Rinse. Then cook. When using canned beans rinse them well in a colander before adding them to your favourite recipe.
2-Start with smaller amounts of beans and gradually increase the amount that you eat. Mung beans and lentils are easiest to digest so start with these. Navy beans, adzuki beans, green or yellow split peas, and brown lentils, may be harder to digest, and therefore more gaseous.
3-Adding spices can make beans much easier to digest. Cook your beans with ginger, turmeric or asafoetida. Asafoetida is actually called an antiflatulent!
4-Eat green vegetables with your beans.
5- Garlic, onions, and the cabbage family, can be serious gas causing agents, so try to avoid combining them with beans.
6-Avoid eating fruit or sugary foods with beans. Leave 2-3 hours between eating these foods.
7-Instead of adding salt, add a piece of Kombu to your beans at the end of the cooking time. Kombu is a form of dried seaweed that can be found in Asian markets.
8-Chew, chew, chew! Digestion begins in the mouth. Chew every bite 15-25 times before swallowing.
Now that you're armed with your gas busting tips, why not try this recipe for Black Bean Puree with Fresh Guacamole or these Deviled Potatoes? If you would like to learn more about beans and how to incorporate more of these health promoting superstars into your life register for Zengarry's upcoming All About Beans Workshop being held Friday, April 19th at 5 pm.
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