Do you remember that silly childhood chant about the “magical fruit?” Well, it could soon be meaningless. Beans are tasty little morsels, which are chock-full of nutrients and fiber. However, they do come with one unpleasant side effect that often keeps them off the menu — flatulence.
Â Now, I’m not talking about green beans here; the beans in question are favorites such as lima beans, red kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, black-eyed beans, and garbanzo beans, for example. The list goes on and on, as there’s lots of variety when it comes to this legume. Beans have been around for ages; in fact, some eastern cultures have been using them as a dietary staple for over 20,000 years!
Â Beans can be quite a potent food when it comes to your health. In general, a single serving of beans (one-third of a cup) only has around 80 calories, no cholesterol, and very little fat. Plus, beans pack in a whole lot of complex carbohydrates.
Â Beans are also a good source of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and dietary fiber, and they contain small amounts of minerals, such as iron and calcium. It’s important to note that beans are only a complete source of protein when they are combined with a grain, such as rice.
Â It’s believed that eating beans regularly could have many positive health effects, including lowering your risk of colon cancer, heart disease (by reducing bad cholesterol levels), and Type II diabetes.
Â However, many people find that this food staple causes gastrointestinal distress, making them very uncomfortable and slightly embarrassed. Fortunately, for those of us who want to eat beans as part of a healthy diet, researchers in Venezuela have come up with a solution to the flatulence problem.
Â First off, you should know that flatulence is a natural byproduct of the digestion process: bacteria living in your large intestine release gas as they process your food, with some types of food producing more flatulence than others. The Venezuelan researchers have now figured out that adding two types of bacteria to beans before you cook them can minimize the amount of gas released.
Â Some clever bean lovers already know that they can diminish the gassy effects of this food by soaking beans in the liquid that was used to cook a previous batch. But, until now, they didn’t know why. When the researchers fermented some beans (they used black beans) in a compound containing the bacteria “Lactobacillus casei” and “Lactobacillus plantarum,” they found that the soluble fiber and “raffinose” contents were reduced significantly (60% and 88%, respectively).
Â Raffinose is a known gas-producing culprit. The results? The beans treated with the bacteria were now more stomach-friendly, as they produced less gas but still kept their nutritional value. This finding might mean that the food industry could somehow pre-process your beans before you pick them up at the store.
Â This news is really great, as beans are an inexpensive and healthy food that should be a part of your healthy lifestyle
Â – and now they can be, without the unpleasant side effects!