WHy Beans Cause Bloating?
The uncomfortable question about beans and bloating pops to the minds of many, who consider becoming vegan, look for an excuse to keep the status quo or already transitioning to a plant-based diet. But before we drawback to the usual ways of eating because of discomfort we may get from plant protein sources, it’s worth considering the underlying problem. That is, why is that we get bloated from beans?
The majority of us consume a standard western diet, full of highly processed and refined products, and very low in fiber. If most of the time we have been eating meat and refined carbs (like white bread, white rice, etc) and very few fiber-rich foods, our digestive system is only used to those foods.
Beans, unlike refined foods and animal products, are full of fiber. And fiber is a tough component to break down if you are lacking certain microbes in your gut. But even if beans are giving you a hard time, the case is not lost.
Luckily, the microbiome in the gut is an ever-changing organism consisting of millions of bacteria. And it’s population highly depends on what we eat, day by day. That to say, as soon as we start making beans a regular on our plates, the microbiome starts adjusting to a more bean-friendly population.
And no longer than from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, we’ll see positive changes in how the body reacts to this plant food.
Why Make an Effort for Beans
As widely known, beans are a great source of plant protein, that is free of cholesterol. But that’s not all the benefits they can provide us. There are less obvious nutrients hidden in beans, like zinc, iron, folate, and potassium. Overall, legumes consumption has been associated with lower blood pressure, slimmer waist, improved regulation of blood sugar, cholesterol, and insulin.
There are some quick tricks you could use to make it easier for the digestive system to break down the legumes you are about to consume:
- start adding beans and other legumes to your diet gradually
- choose legumes that are easier to digest, e.g. tofu red lentils and split peas
- pre-soak the beans for at least 6 hours or overnight, drain and rinse after
- add 1 tsp of baking soda per pound of legumes while soaking
- adding herb savory while cooking
- cook legumes thoroughly, until so soft that you can easily squeeze it between your fingers
These trick have been used by many people adjusting their diets to a more wholesome one and hope they will contribute to smooth changes for you, too.
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