Beans are an excellent choice for quality plant-based protein. They are dense, full of soluble fiber, and help to keep you feeling fuller longer. Protein is essential for the proper functioning and maintenance of our bodies. It is the building block of cells and tissues that keep us strong. Also containing B vitamins, iron, potassium, and folate, beans can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level, a healthy brain, and healthy cell function. Lastly, they’re great for keeping your energy level high without added sugar. Now, I know what you’re thinking – you’re worried about beans giving you gas, right? (Ok, go ahead and giggle.) But seriously, there are steps you can take to help reduce that problem (see bottom of page) so that you can still enjoy this nutritionally powerful superfood.
Here are some different ways you can add beans to your diet:
Toss them with some brown rice for a filling side dish. You can even add in some vegetables or other “extras” to make a satisfying lunch bowl. (I chose roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper here. A little sweet – a little spicy – delish!)
Throw some garbanzo beans (chick peas) on a salad.
You could also mix some black beans into scrambled eggs and top with salsa for a Southwest inspired breakfast. Or make a Bean Soup for these chilly fall days!
And here’s how you can… ahem… deflate…
- Soak dried beans at least 8 hours, or up to several days, prior to cooking. This helps rid some of the oligosaccharides (indigestible sugars).
- When incorporating beans into your diet, start out slowly, eating them only a couple times a week. You might also want to start with smaller beans, like peas or lentils. Your body needs time to “figure out” how to digest them. Then you can gradually increase your intake.
- Added sweeteners (sugar) make beans more difficult to digest (so be careful with baked beans). Instead, season with a digestive aid, such as sea salt. Fennel and cumin can also help prevent gas.
- Chew beans thoroughly – digestion starts in the mouth.
- Take digestive enzymes with your meal.