Beans have the ability to be one of your best friends and worst enemies, all at the same time. They’re one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get your protein when you’re plant-based, not to mention provide you with filling fiber that prevents you from snacking too much between meals. The only problem? Downing a bowl of the beauties can be a little, umm, stinky.
It’s not uncommon to pass gas up to 25 times a day, but things can get a little more on the uncomfortable side after eating a fiber-filled dish. Luckily, there are a handful of ways to take in the important nutrients without feeling totally weighed down.
1. Don’t go overboard.
Especially if you’re a bean newbie. If you go from 0 to 100, eating a large amount of beans when you’re not used to it, you might wind up feeling like a balloon. If you start small and increase your servings as your body adjusts to the increased amount of fiber, you won’t experience nearly as many issues. You might feel bloated and gassy at first, but after a couple weeks, your digestive system will get used to it.
2. Give your beans a nice soak.
Oh beans—you’re so pampered. They need some self-care in the form of a long, relaxing soak, just like you do. To help make them more digestion-friendly, let them hang out in water for 12 to 48 hours, changing the water 2 to 3 times a day. Then rinse before you cook. You can also boil them if you’re running short on time, but it’s still recommended to let them soak for at least an hour afterward.
So, how exactly does that solve your gas and bloating problems? Both soaking and boiling can reduce the amount of the non-digestible carbohydrates raffinose and stachyose in the beans, making them easier for your body to digest.
3. Rinse your canned beans.
Rinsing your canned beans can be just as important as soaking them. If you use them often, make sure to drain the liquid and give them a quick rinse before cooking. The small step gets rid of the cloudy liquid they’ve been sitting in, which is loaded with sugars that can cause gas.
4. Pick your type wisely.
Not all beans are created equal in terms of the gas they produce. If you want an easily digestible bean, try black, pinto, and split mung beans. If you’re going for lima, kidney, or soybeans, just eat a little less than you usually would. Also, it’s been said that the sweeter the bean, the easier it is to eat gas-free, which is a very good thing to keep in mind if you’re struggling with the menu during date night. (You’re welcome in advance.)