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Knock The Wind Out Of Your Beans

November 1, 2011 by Kenton Delisle

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Knock The Wind Out Of Your Beans

Beans are one of the most underrated ingredients. Very inexpensive, very versatile and very shelf-stable, beans can be made into delicious dishes from breakfast to dessert. They are no nutritional slouch either as they are packed with nutrition (protein, fibre and folate to name just a few nutrients). Whether it’s basic beans and rice, cheerful chili, complex curries, or top secret baked bean recipes, beans are a great way to increase your food creativity repertoire on the cheap. To extend a meal by making a side dish into an entrée, try adding beans to a salad.

Beans can also replace some or all of the meat you might use in a dish. This saves money and adds variety without sacrificing the heartiness of your meal.   Why wouldn’t you want to dive in and start creating a cornucopia of bean dishes? Oh, that. Beans, beans, the musical fruit, The more you eat, the more you… If your reluctance to embrace beans is their potential for a gaseous experience (which does not deter me from having beans), there is hope. Here are the two main reasons people may experience gas from beans and ways to reduce the ‘experience’:


Reason Solution
1) You are not used to that much fibre in one meal.
  • Eat more beans...really.  Just start slowly to minimize your symptoms.  Eating more fibre more regularly will help build up the number of good bacteria in the intestine that breakdown some of the fibre that can cause gas.  Fedd them and they will come.
2) You can't digest some of the carbohydrates (oligosaccharides) in beans
  • Rinse canned veans before cooking them.
  • Soak dry beans overnight (or for at least 6 hours) before cooking.  The bean actually starts to germinate and breakdown the stubborn starches for you.  I know, cool hey?
  • Not to mention, soaking also allows beans to slowly absorb the liquid they need to cook evenly and completely.  This also helps them to not lose their skins or split open.
  • Use a pressure cooker, if you have one.  You can have similar results to soaking them by using pressure.

So why not try them? An affordable, nutritious, delicious versatile food - bring on the beans! Have you “bean” there, done that?

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Comments (3)


Posted on Wednesday November 2, 2011 a 3:04pm

Another tip is to add a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to cooked beans -- this aids in breaking down some of the hard-to-digest fibre in them, making them more gut-friendly!


Posted on Wednesday November 9, 2011 a 9:11am

Are some beans better than others with nutrient values/vitamins? Also is there any nutritional difference between canned beans and dried beans?

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Monday November 14, 2011 a 10:18am

Good question rose77. While beans are generally good sources of fibre, protein and folic acid, the amounts of these, and other nutrients, do vary from one type of bean to another. There is no major difference in the vitamin and mineral content between canned beans and dried beans that have been cooked at home. One advantage of using dried beans though, is that you can control the amount of salt that is added. Salt is often added to canned beans. Rinsing canned beans before using them will reduce the amount of salt in your bean dish, which will also lower the sodium content (an important consideration for healthy blood pressure). Like all food, there is no ‘magic bullet’, er, bean. Changing it up and enjoying a variety of beans will give you great flavours, textures and colours in your dishes, as well as a range of nutrients. So, enjoy your beans, all kinds of beans, and be happy that we need to eat a variety of foods to keep us ticking at our best.


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