Why can beans cause bloating and gas?

Why should you eat beans?

Beans are one of nature’s finest treasures. They are cheap, delicious and incredibly nutritious. Beans contain large amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are packed with potassium and magnesium and they also contain a lot of fiber. Eating legumes is the easiest way to meet your nutritional needs but can cause digestion problems for some people. But so many people associate beans with bloating and gas. Why is that?

Tip #1: Beans are very nutritious and high in fiber.
Beans and other legumes are very nutritious.

Why can beans cause gas, bloating and even cramping?

Beans are quite hard to digest, especially if you haven’t had many of them in the past. Your gut microbiome has to adjust to the foods you eat so it contains bacteria needed to break down your food. Beans also contain indigestible sugars and fiber, that ferment in the large colon and can cause gas. When your gut adapts to eating beans and populates the microbiome with bacteria designed to break down beans, bloating should go away.

Tip #2: Your gut microbiome needs time to addapt to new foods and increase in fiber.
Your gut needs time to adapt to new foods.

How to minimize bloating?

Air can get into our colon two ways: from swallowing it and from the fermentation in our bowels. So first of all, try to minimize how much air you swallow. When you transition to a plant-based diet you will probably need to eat more food, so there will be more chances for you to swallow air. As far as beans go, the best way I found to prepare them so they are easiest to digest is to soak them overnight, rinse well and discard the soaking water at least twice before cooking them well. This way you can also control how much salt you put in your beans.

Tip #3: Cook your own beans to minimize the "side-effects" and control your sodium intake.
Soaking makes beans easier to digest.

Passing gas is normal and healthy

It is perfectly normal and healthy to pass gas from 14 to 22 times a day. That means your digestion is working properly. But don’t worry, when eating a plant-based diet your gas and even stool will have no significant odor. Most people experience a huge improvement in their digestion when transitioning to a plant-based diet, but get scared because of bloating in the transition period. So don’t worry, take it slow and your gut will thank you in the end.

Tip #4: Passing gas 14 to 22 times a day is normal and healthy. Once you adapt to eating a plant-based diet your gas and even stool will have no significant odor.

Why you should eat more beans?

You can read more about the benefits of consuming beans in this article by Dr. Michael Greger.

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