Remember this little ditty?
Beans, beans the musical fruit,
The more you eat the more you toot,
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So eat your beans at every meal!
It’s true! Plant-based diets are higher in fiber so as people transition to this lifestyle, a common occurrence is to experience a bit more gas or bloating as you adjust to more legumes and high fiber foods. Keep in mind, there are a long list of benefits from eating a high fiber whole food plant-based diet. Quite possibly flatulence is a sign you are eating nutritious food!
Beans are often singled out as as the culprit because they are a naturally sweet, high fiber food group that contains sugars called oligosaccharides. These sugar molecules are too big to squeeze through the gut or small intestinal wall so the sugars make their way through the small intestine into the large intestine. The bacteria in the large intestine begins to ferment these sugars and produce gas. The gas accumulates and escapes the body in the form of flatulence. Gas is normal and healthy, but to some people it can be considered a nuisance. But remember, your body will transition and adjust beautifully to more beans, fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and you will start to feel all kinds of benefits.
Here are some suggestions to make your beans more digestible and a bit less windy:
- Soak beans for 8-10 hours and rinse well before cooking and after cooking. If buying canned beans, rinse and soak them well before using.
- Add kombu or wakame to the water when cooking beans.
- Eat slowly and chew your food because digestion begins in the mouth. Enjoy mealtime and reduce stress levels which can also lead to gas.
- Avoid dairy products and artificial sweeteners.
Remember, gas is normal and eating a whole food plant-based diet is truly the optimal diet so, … “Eat your beans at every meal!”