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Beans - Reducing gas

  • j

As long as we are talking about beans, does anybody have any advice on how to reduce the inevitable gas? I have heard many theories, such as throwing away their soaking liquid, throwing away their cooking liquid (impossible in a soup!), cooking them with epazote, cooking them until very soft, using baking soda, and (admitting defeat) just using Beano.

Does anything really work?

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  1. Eating them more often helps. Back when I was in my late 30's, I started eating vegetarian after being raised on a pretty standard American diet. (During my childhood 30 - 40 years ago, that did not include the vast quantities of junk and processed foods now so prevalent). My gut simply wasn't accustomed to the starches and sugars in the legumes I was eating so much of, and it was very uncomfortable at first. After a month or so, I had adjusted to the change in diet and beans and lentils had virtually no gaseous side effects. I've long since given up vegetarianism, but legumes are still a common enough feature, and I've maintained my resistance to the dreaded Flatus. Would that my husband had the same resistance.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GG Mora

      Similar phenomenon, except for me it wasn't vegetarianism, but the discovery of Indian and Middle Eastern food. I also find that including yogurt in any legume-heavy meals greatly reduces any, um, side effects.

      1. re: --susan

        so does taking acidophilus pills

        1. re: --susan

          The solution for Indian food with no side effects is to make sure the spices are cooked properly. If they are toasted, fried, or simmered thoroughly digestion is not a problem (once you've adapted to any dietary fiber increase).

      2. Using epazote in the cooking is supposed to reduce gas. When I make beans I put a sprig of epazote in while they simmer and take it out at the end. Adds a nice backgorund bitterness to the pot too, an extra dimension to the taste.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kit marlowe

          I saw Epazote at spice house and it said freeze dried and I than saw it at Penzsys, but they did not say freeze dried. which is better or are they all the same?

          1. re: ydelle

            JMHO, regarding using epazote, I think it's the vilest-tasting thing on earth. Buy the smallest amount possible, just so you don't end up with something you hate. I like almost everything, but I have to say I really hate epazote. Take a triple dose of Beano instead, because the recommended dose doesn't work, at least not in our house.

        2. eating them more frequently decreases it significantly. i believe there are certain herbs/spices that aid in the digestion (savory, sage, and maybe tumeric). ive also heard olive oil helps. change the soaking liquid more than once and rinse the beans well. skim the scum off the top when boiling.

          but mostly, just eat them often.

          1. I've read that beans have a complex sugar (oligosaccharide) that causes the gas in digestive tracts that are not used to frequent bean consumption. If you soak dried beans overnight, yes, throw out the soaking water and start fresh. If you use the quick soak method of bringing dried beans to a boil, letting sit for an hour or so, then, yes, throw out that cooking water and start fresh. If you use canned beans, rinse them well. That should help some.

            I've also used a chunk of kombu seaweed in the last cooking but not sure how much that truly helped. Then, as posters have said, just let the microorganisms in your intestinal tract get gradually used to increased bean consumption.

            Also, I've noticed no problem with lentils or chickpeas, but that could be a totally separate post on if there's a difference between legumes, beans, dals.

            Beans, beans, the magical fruit
            The more you eat, the more you toot
            The more you toot, the better you feel
            So let's eat beans at every meal!

            And a variation:

            Beans, beans, they're good for your heart
            The more you eat, the more you (fill in the blank)

            3 Replies
            1. re: nemo

              My husbands' grandmas beans song went like this:

              Beans, beans, the Musical fruit
              The more you eat, the more you toot
              The more you toot, the better you feel
              So let's eat beans at every meal!

              Btw - I accept defeat and use beano. Any thing that has a lot of fiber produces gas, for me anyway.

              1. re: danhole

                dani and nemo, a while back i posted that ditty on another, similar thread. i'm glad yours' survived. ;-)

                try adding lemon juice to beans just before serving! (ha, my "on-topic")

                1. re: danhole

                  NJ had a slightly different version rhyming heart w the f-variation instead of fruity-tooty comparison.

              2. Warning: if you cook beans in your Schnelltopf (pressure cooker), which is the best,
                easiest and fastest way to cook beans, no soaking required, do NOT put baking soda in the pot w/ the beans. It made a big mess and went all over the wall.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RevImmigrant

                  Yikes- lesson learned. I always add it at the very end- could you wait until the pressure is off, right before you serve?