July 23, 2014
Reducing Gas from Beans

Supermarket Buying Guide: Beans

Reducing Gas from Beans

by Edward Blonz, M.S., Ph.d.  |  

It seems everyone associates beans with intestinal gas, leading to inevitable worries and jokes about it. The gas is caused by fermentation of complex carbohydrates in beans called oligosaccharides. But don’t let that keep you from eating beans. Here’s how to keep a lid on the gas:

  • If you are using dried beans, soak them following the steps outlined below. Adding some baking soda to the soaking water may also help a bit, but can increase the loss of B vitamins. If you are using canned beans, rinse them in a strainer. Both tactics will reduce the amount of oligosaccharides present.
  • Use Beano (or a similar generic product), which contains the enzyme alphagalactosidase; this breaks down oligosaccharides. Beano and its generics are available in capsule or liquid form. Take them, as directed on the label, when you start eating.If you eat beans on a regular basis, your body will learn to handle them more efficiently over time. But increase your intake gradually.

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