originally posted at ChefsLine 27 Dec 2006
Beans induce gas in the body by way of benevolent bacteria in the large intestine. The best way to minimize gas, therefore, is to help digestion begin before the beans get to that late stage, mainly by fermentation and digestive enzymes.
Asian cooks have been fermenting beans for a long, long time, namely black beans for black bean sauce. At home, I opt to soak my raw beans for a few days before cooking them. I put a little vinegar in the water to minimize the risk of food-borne pathogens, and then just let them soak until they begin to smell a little rank. It might not be the most pleasant aroma to have in the kitchen, but it is certainly preferable to the alternative [wink and nod]. Add some ginger to the mix for its beneficial digestive properties, and be sure to rinse off all of the water the beans have soaked in when you turn to boiling them.
Another and easier option to reducing bean gas is to consume some helpful digestive enzymes before eating them. Yogurt is a good source of lactobaccillus acidopholus, which aids digestion.
Digestive supplements such as Probiotic Eleven [registered trademark] can aid in reducing gas and easing digestive symptoms of all sorts; when opting for an approach to reducing gas as proactive as purchasing special supplements like this, look for the ones that contain lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus casei, the two biologically-active compounds most associated with gas reduction.
Here is a list of foods to serve with your beans to combat their gassiness:
Ginger is a time-honored cure for indigestion.
Fennel and Anise are natural gas-reducers, and can be cooked right in with the beans for great flavor.
Garlic aids in digestion and destroys unwanted bacteria in the bowel.
B Vitamins are essential for proper digestion.
Papaya and Pineapple contain digestive enzymes.
There are many more eating and cooking practices that can minimize the gas-effect of beans and other foods on oneâ€™s health and life. Please schedule a conference with myself or one of the other ChefsLine chefs if you wish to learn more.
Have fun cooking! -Chef Adam.