How to remove gas from beans
Beans are a cheap source of healthy food, rich in vegetable protein, soluble fibre, antioxidants, complex carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. They are low in glycemic index and fat, this makes them excellent for vegetarians, diabetics, weight watchers etc.
In Nigeria, there are different varieties of beans, the most common being white beans (large Kano white-iron beans, small white-Potiskum beans) and brown beans (large brown, small brown beans-olotu, small light brown beans-oloyin). The light brown beans also called Honey beans (oloyin) is especially delicious and used in preparing Nigerian beans porridge but watch out for fake packaging.
Some people are reluctant to eat beans due to the problem of flatulence/gas. Flatulence is caused by certain types of sugars in the beans (oligosaccharides). Humans lack the enzyme that breaks down these sugars in the small intestine, so they pass into the colon where gut-friendly bacteria break them down through fermentation which results in intestinal gas.
The gases are mostly hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen and methane which are all odourless but there is also that tiny percentage of foul-smelling sulphurous gases that form. Some types of beans are worse than others.
However, the body adapts to the consumption of beans, just introduce it into your diet regularly but in small quantities.
To remove gas from beans
- Soak your beans overnight or at least 8 hours, drain water and cook.
- Adding a little akanwu/kaun or baking soda to the soaking water to alkalize it also helps to remove gas from beans. They also cut down on cooking time. Baking soda can affect the taste and texture of the beans giving it a slippery feel and there is also the fear of some vitamins being destroyed.
- Do a quick soak by bringing the water and beans to a boil, boil for 2 minutes and take off the heat. Leave to soak in the boiled water for at least 1 hour, drain, rinse and cook as usual.
- Place beans in a bowl, pour boiling water over it to cover the beans, leave to soak at least 4 hours.
- Add plenty of onions to your beans when cooking. Onions is carminative, it combats flatulence or gas in the tummy. *Below is a short list of other carminatives you can try.
- Cook beans until tender before eating. It should crush easily between your fingers or on the roof of your mouth. Use the time given in any recipe as just an estimate.
- Don’t add sugar, salt or any acidic ingredient until beans is tender. Though not adding salt is now controversial.
- Limit the amount and variety of other proteins eaten with your beans.
- Canned beans though more expensive than dry beans does not induce as much gas. Drain from preserving liquid, rinse and use.
- Chew your beans very well before swallowing, because digestion starts in the mouth, it will start the digestive process.
- Eat your beans with plenty of green vegetables.
- Don’t eat sugar-laden food including fruits close to the time you will eat beans.
- Drink plenty of water with your beans.
- Increase the quantity of beans you eat gradually.
*Some carminatives that help remove gas from beans
- Scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum, nchuanwu), onions, garlic, ginger, Peppers, nutmeg, sesame seed, cinnamon, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cloves, turmeric, curry, black pepper etc.
- Certain kinds of beans contain a toxin that is tasteless and harmful e.g Red kidney beans. To eliminate this toxin, boil beans for at least 10 minutes before reducing to a simmer even if using a slow cooker.
- Undercooked beans can be more toxic than raw beans.
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