EAT MORE BEANS
Beans are one of those unsexy foods with several unmarketable qualities.
They make you gassy, they can be hard to cook, and what do you even do with them?
I get it.
But it’s time to get over your farting phobia.
Beans are one of the most nutritional foods you can put on your plate.
Today you are going to change your opinion about beans, and I’m going to be the one to convince you.
health benefits of beans
high in fiber
North Americans do not consume enough dietary fiber. One cup of black beans accounts for 60% of your recommended dietary fiber intake for the day. Fiber helps us feel full, slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream, aids in digestion and elimination, and helps to lower cholesterol.
carbs as energy
Carbohydrates are the most present macronutrients in beans. Due to the high amount of fiber, beans are complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are broken down and released into the bloodstream at a slower rate than processed carbohydrates, making beans a better source of sustainable energy. Even though beans are rich in carbohydrates they are quite low on the glycemic index.
If you are concerned about beans being high in carbs just remember to consume healthy fats at the same time. The pairing of fats with carbohydrates will slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
clean lean protein
One cup of lentils contains 36% of the recommended daily requirements for protein. Harvard’s School of Public health recommends swapping beans or legumes for meat two to three times a week. Unlike red meat, there is little to no saturated fat in beans and zero trans fat. Beans are a great source of protein without raising cholesterol.
The nutritional profile of beans and legumes vary by variety, however, there are a few key similarities. Along with complex carbs, fiber, and protein beans are very nutrient dense. They are a good source of copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Beans are also very economical. This obviously isn’t a health benefit, just an added bonus.
The price of beans is hard to beat. They can be the base of a meal for around a buck. A bad of dried beans will cover several meals and the shelf life of canned beans make them a cheap staple in my kitchen. If you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget then beans are a must-have.
takeaway = beans are very healthy
Beans are full of fiber, a source of energy as complex carbohydrates,
a great lean protein, and are packed with nutrients.
Now let us take a look at why they give you gas.
beans and indigestion
Beans contain raffinose sugars that we straight up can’t digest. We are unable to digest this sugar molecule because we lack the enzyme alpha-galactosidase. When this sugar isn’t properly digested, it can ferment in the digestive tract, thus causing gas and bloating.
On top of that, beans also contain phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of other nutrients. Basically, we need to have a few tricks up our sleeve to fix these digestive issues. If you read the health benefits you know eating beans are worth it. Here are three ways to make beans easier to digest:
soak to sprout
Cooking your own beans takes some effort. No lie. Grabbing a can opener is much faster than soaking dried legumes overnight and spending a couple of hours around the stove. If you cook your own beans you have the advantage of soaking.
Letting your beans sit in water for 24-48 hours will start the sprouting process thus removing some of the phytates. Add an acidic medium to the water such as lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda. Make sure to rinse and replace the water a few times during the soaking process. Remember to rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.
cooking with kombu
Kombu is a seaweed that has the enzyme of digestive system lacks. The glutamic acid in kombu helps to reduce the raffinose sugars. You can buy dried kombu at health food stores and Asian markets.
Add a four-inch strip to your cooking pot and watch that baby expand. I usually remove it after an hour of cooking as it can disintegrate if you leave it in for more than a couple of hours. So if you don’t want little bits of seaweed all throughout your beans make sure to remove it after your beans are cooked.
rinse canned beans
Canned beans can have all sorts of stuff in the cooking liquid. Rinse all of your canned beans to reduce any sodium and potential phytic acid.
how to cook dried beans
Buying canned beans are easy, convenient, and still relatively cheap. But there is nothing like tasting home cooked beans. With a little dose of patience and a pinch of salt, cooking your own beans will be remarkably tastier results than their canned counterparts.
There are four main methods for cooking beans: pressure cooking, steaming, oven baked, or in a pot on the stove. Pick your method and get moving. It’s time to batch cook these babies. Here is my straightforward four-step recipe for home cooked beans. Grab your pot and put it on the stove top.
1. soak beans
Alright, I know I told you to get the pot and put it on the stove top, but the best way to get gas free beans is to let them soak first. As previously stated in this post, soaking essentially helps to remove some of the undigestible compounds in the beans. It will also help reduce your cooking time.
Step 1: soak dried beans in water for 24-48 hours.
2. drain and rinse
Dried food products have generally gone a lot of places during their transport. It’s always a good idea to rinse off dried food before you cook it. Don’t be alarmed if you see dirt or debris that have detached from the beans and are floating around in the water. Also, some of the enzyme inhibitors will be released from the beans into the soaking water. So, all around it’s essential to discard it.
Step 2: drain the soaking water and rinse the beans off before cooking.
3. season and cook
There are two things that will ruin the cooking time of your beans: acid and lots of salt.
Adding either of these ingredients into your pot at the beginning will make your beans take all day. That means only add a pinch of salt (if any) at the beginning and no tomatoes or lemon juice until the last 10-15 minutes of your overall cook time.
Step 3: Cover the beans with twice as much water as beans. Add any seasoning you’de like with the exception of salt of acidic foods. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and let set. The cook time will vary from 45 minutes to an hour.
buyers guide / canned beans
In a perfect world, our fridge would always be stocked with batch cooked beans. In the real world, however, there are some nights where being less than perfect is tolerable. Enter: canned beans.
We are past the days of only having options like baked beans cooked in animal fat. The world of nutritional fad food has brought forth some pretty great canned products. I advocate cooking your own but I believe in having a backup.
It’s easy to grab a couple of cans and compare the amount of sodium in each. Don’t readily believe the claims on the front of cans which aren’t always regulated by the FDA. Turn it around and look at the percentage of sodium per serving. A can that claims “Low Sodium” on one product could still have a higher sodium content than the competing brand.
There are several brands that have now done away with their BPA linings. Trust me, if a brand has gone through the work to remove the BPA, it will be in their packaging.
Always buy these in the vegetarian option. It’s likely that the nonvegetarian version of baked beans was cooked in pork fat or other animal ingredients. The same story for refried beans – check the ingredient list.
Once you open a can of beans pour them into a colander and rinse thoroughly under water. A lot of the cans sodium content is in this liquid.
how to actually eat more beans
If you want to start introducing beans into your diet start slow. Any major change in your diet can be upsetting to your digestive system so have a half a cup of beans, wait a couple of days, and have some more. Gradually introduce them and increase the number of beans and legumes you eat over time. Hopefully, soon enough, they will be apart of your diet without you knowing the difference.
Try one of these ten bean recipes this week. Or see how I make them a part of my daily diet in my course Meal Planning for Beginners.