Some beans produce gas because they have compounds that are not easily broken down in the stomach and must undergo fermentation by bacteria to be digested. Here is WebMD and About's take on the issue of beans producing gas.
As fresh beans stay on the vine and mature and dry, they are turning simple sugars into more complex sugars which will last longer. While the plant does this so the seeds will remain viable for a longer time, it's these complex sugars/carbs that cause problems with digestion. Inulin is an example of one such complex carbohydrate. There is a lot of it in Jerusalem artichokes, and that's why some people complain that it is a "gassy vegetable".
There are two approaches to solving the gas problem: (1) Get rid of these complex carbohydrates in the cooking process. For beans, it is recommended that after you soak the dried beans, you toss out the soak water and start fresh. That soaking water did more than just rehydrate the beans; some of the complex carbohydrates that are soluble can be leached out. You could also add digestive enzymes to the soak water -- spit in the soak water and add the amylase from your own saliva to work on it overnight (by the way, that's why they tell you not to eat yogurt from the container with a spoon and then put it back in the fridge -- your amylase from the spoon makes the yogurt runny later).
If spitting in the soak water for the beans sounds gross, there is the other option: (2) Work on your own gastrointestinal health so that you can break down the complex carbs without turning into another LePetomane. Beano is one product that adds digestive enzymes orally so that you can have them working in your gut when you need them. It's a one-simple-pill substitute for having a healthy GI tract flora that comes from a diet of fermented foods full of beneficial bacteria (yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, buttermilk, kefir, Limburger cheese, French cheeses like brie with powdery rind, etc.). "Probiotics" are also a substitute, whether they are added to foods, or served in a small shot of flavored liquid. For me, I like the taste of fermented foods (well, maybe not natto), so I will go for the wholesome natural approach.
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
posted 6 years ago
What those guys said.
I don't get gas from beans, and not much from 'fartichokes' either so I'm not the best judge.
Maybe it's something to do with my slightly out-of-control fermented food habit
Changing the soaking water definitely helps;
some sensitive souls change the water half way through cooking as well.
Off topic, but I can always crowbar in a plug for runner beans...
I grow loads of 'white butterfly' runner beans which make great green beans, shellout and dried.
They enjoy cooler temperatures and are perennial in my temperate climate.
The soaking thing is true. And beans are always cooked either with cumin or herbs and spices that helps with the digestion.
I never get gas from beans BTW. don't trust modern cook books, they sometimes skip those important steps like soaking.
The complex sugars, like inulin, are prebiotic - ie. they are a growth media for the healthy gut bacteria. Some studies have suggested (I don't have links) that eating prebiotic foods does more to enhance a healthy gut than eating probiotics (I personally choose to do both). Maybe the flatulence, which according to the WebMD is only a passing nuisance that dissapear if you earth Legestue frequently, is due to an increase in gut bacteria?
The soaking helps break down some of the sugars, if it is a nuisance - soaking longer until the beans sprout will break them down even further and spoiling the beams untill they are very soft also helps. This is also a help if you are slightly allergic to legumes (like I am), but should of course not be tried by people w. severe legume allergies.
I sometimes enjoy a potent gas effect if I eat a new kind of bean, or if -- horrors -- I am forced to live without the magical fruit for a spell. But if I just keep on eating them, eventually things smooth out as the gut bacteria achieve a balance. And according to NPR, gas might not be a bad sign anyway (though those around you may consider it an ill omen indeed): "Got Gas? It Could Mean You've Got Healthy Gut Microbes "Got Gas? It Could Mean You've Got Healthy Gut Microbes".
And as the physician in the article says: ""A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal." Yes, perfectly normal.
posted 6 years ago
Thanks for the informative & speedy replies.
I thought gas was bad! You've opened a whole new window of thought up for me: Prebiotic!!
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
posted 6 years ago
It's not only fermentation contributing to farts . Swallowing air has a lot to do with it . Masticating the beans into a paste adds a lot of air into the mix which is then swallowed with the food bolus . Burp or fart . Those are the only ways out .
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