A Comprehensive Guide About How To Digest Legumes And Beans
Beans, legumes, and lentils are essential to a healthy diet. They provide slow-burning, long-lasting energy and are packed with important nutrients like protein and fiber.
These foods have been staples in many cultures for centuries due to their nutritional value as well as affordability. Beans offer an excellent source of plant-based protein which is beneficial for those looking to reduce animal products from their diets or who need an alternative source of dietary protein.
However, they can also be hard to digest. Beans contain mostly insoluble fiber, which requires a lot of work from your digestive tract to break down into smaller particles for absorption into the bloodstream.
This article will help you learn how to properly digest legumes like beans so that you can reap all their nutritional benefits.
Beans are not just cheap and delicious, and they are also a great source of health-protective phytonutrients.
Beans are not just cheap and delicious, and they are also a great source of health-protective phytonutrients. Beans contain fiber, which is important for reducing the incidence of heart disease and cancer.
Fiber also helps maintain proper cholesterol levels and normal bowel function.
The following are some of the main phytonutrients in beans:
- Phenolic acids
Most people have a hard time digesting beans due to their fiber content, but the fiber content is what is good for you and makes them such a healthy food.
Many people have a hard time digesting beans, but this is not because they are unhealthy. It’s because of their fiber content. Fiber is good for you and can help prevent constipation, which is why it’s important to eat lots of vegetables with beans.
Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps keep things moving through your digestive system and prevent constipation from occurring.
Soluble fiber absorbs water in the gut so it has a laxative effect on your bowels; insoluble fiber helps food move through the colon more quickly by adding bulk to stool and softening it up so that it passes through smoothly.
In order to make it easier to digest legumes and beans, try the following tips:
1. Use sprouted beans
Sprouted beans are a good alternative for those who want to get the health benefits of beans and legumes but don’t want to deal with their difficult digestibility.
Sprouting helps destroy anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which is present in grains and legumes and makes them difficult to digest. It’s easy to do at home: you can use a jar or a sprouting bag if you’re so inclined (I prefer the former).
2. Soak your beans
Soaking your beans—with a little vinegar—is one of the best ways to reduce phytic acid, a mineral blocker that prevents your body from absorbing nutrients.
To do this, simply add the beans to water and let them sit overnight or for 24 hours. You can also soak them in water for two hours and then boil them (you’ll still get most of the benefits).
If you don’t have room in your kitchen for this step, there are lots of other ways to reduce phytate levels without soaking overnight.
3. Drink some tea
Herbs like peppermint, chamomile & fennel can help settle an upset stomach while also helping you digest better. While tea is a good way to get these herbs into your system, you can also use them in other ways.
For example, chamomile is an effective digestive aid that can be taken as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract). Peppermint oil can help with digestion and may even help reduce bloating.
Fennel seeds are another powerful herb that helps with digestion and intestinal health by stimulating peristalsis (the rhythmic contraction of the intestinal muscles) and reducing gas build-up in the gut.
4. Using an enzyme supplement
Enzymes help your body break down food and absorb nutrients. In the case of legumes, they help break down complex sugars that can cause digestive distress.
If you find that eating beans or lentils causes gas and bloating, it may be because you’re not producing enough of these enzymes naturally.
In general, most people should take a digestive enzyme supplement with each meal.
The dosage will depend on how well your body produces those enzymes naturally—some people have more trouble than others breaking down foods like beans and lentils—but 0.5-1g per meal is generally recommended for adults over 18 years old who are otherwise healthy (note: this is just an estimate).
As always with supplements, consult a doctor before taking one if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or have any medical conditions that could be affected by their use; also check with them before starting any new supplements at all!
5. Chewing slowly and thoroughly
Chewing slowly and thoroughly is the best way to help your body digest legumes and beans. Slow chewing can help you break down food more easily.
This, in turn, releases enzymes that are responsible for helping your body digest protein and carbohydrates.
It also helps avoid bloating and gas because you’re letting your intestine have enough time to process all of the nutrients from the legume or bean.
Why do legumes and beans cause flatulence?
Beans, legumes and other foods that contain oligosaccharides are difficult to digest. They are resistant to digestion because they’re indigestible.
Oligosaccharides can also be referred to as “resistant starch” or “fermentable carbohydrates,” and they have a high concentration of fiber.
Normally, the bacteria in your gut break down all the food you eat into simple sugars like glucose (blood sugar).
But oligosaccharides don’t get broken down by the enzymes in your small intestine; instead, they pass through into your large intestine where bacteria ferment them into gases such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
This process leads to flatulence when the resulting gasses exit your body via flatulence-inducing farts!
There’s nothing more unpleasant than a stomachache! How to avoid it:
If you’re worried that eating beans or legumes might give you a stomach ache, there are steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t.
- Soak beans overnight. This will help them to absorb less water and be easier to digest.
- Sprout your legumes or beans by soaking them in water for 24 hours before cooking them, which will break down their complex sugars and make them easier to digest as well!
- Use an enzyme supplement such as Beano before eating your legumes or beans; this product prevents the formation of gas during digestion so that it doesn’t come back up later on (and we all know how unpleasant that can be)!
- Chew slowly and thoroughly when eating legume/bean-based meals; this helps prevent irritation from occurring inside your body after consumption due to too much indigestible food traveling through too quickly without being properly broken down first!
Beans and legumes are great sources of nutrition but can be difficult for some people to digest. You can do several things to help improve this process, including soaking, sprouting, or using an enzyme supplement.
For those with a sensitive stomach or digestive issues, these tips may not work well enough on their own.
If this is the case, consider talking with your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements such as peppermint oil, which are known to help settle upset stomachs and aid digestion.