Beans, a member of the legume family are widely eaten throughout the world. It is one of the staple foods in Nigeria and a major source of protein. They serve as a cheap replacement for other sources of protein. Beans are low in fat and calorie, but high in fiber and iron and comes with several health benefits.
Beans are mostly consumed either by boiling( cooked state,), baking or majorly as pudding – beans cakes and moi moi as Nigerians call it. Beans are rich in protein, iron, folate, complex carbohydrates, fiber and soluble fiber. People are encouraged to eat beans because it contains amino acids which is referred to as the building blocks of protein, helps the body to heal and make new tissues.
But why do I experience abdominal pain, diarrhea , bloating and excess gas after eating cooked beans? Why do I pass gas more often after having cooked beans?. If these are some of the questions you currently have, answers will be provided in this post and you will get to know what happens if you don’t soak beans before cooking.
Does this sound interesting to you? Lets dive right into it.
So, what happens if you don’t soak beans before cooking?
From my personal experience and research, cooking beans without soaking takes longer time to cook in addition to having some quantities of the naturally occurring toxins present in its raw state. Again, there are chances of consuming the chemical used in preservation which poses serious health risk to consumers.
It may interest you to note that there are natural toxins present in raw beans called lectins. Studies show that lectins are present in the raw form of all plant-based foods, but raw legumes like beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, peanuts and whole grains like wheat contain the highest amounts of lectins. They can be described as carbohydrate-binding proteins.
According to Wikipedia, lectins are one of many toxic components of many raw plants, which are inactivated by proper processing and preparation. Lectins when eaten in their active state can cause digestive disorders like stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. Plants use lectins naturally to guard against being eaten. When they attach themselves to carbohydrates, it makes digestion difficult to take place.
But there is good news!. The foods high in this active lectins are hardly eaten by humans in their raw state. The process of cooking needed to eat them ends up destroying most of the lectins. The remaining lectin that survived the cooking process are further broken down by enzymes in the body. Proper heat treatment and thorough soaking of beans and indeed others in the legume family destroys most of the lectins. But cooking utensils that cook beans at low temperatures for many hours may not be efficient in denaturing lectins, hence the need for proper preparation.
Lectins are water soluble and usually found on the outer surface of plants/legumes and so can be removed by exposure to water or simply put, it can be washed off. They can be destroyed with high heat so consumers are advised to reduce exposure to lectins by soaking and cooking beans thoroughly.
On the other hand, the use of chemicals by farmers to preserve beans has been a major challenge in most developing countries like Nigeria. Because beans are highly susceptible to pest infestation, farmers use pesticide control measures to mitigate losses but these measures lead to low food quality and safety. when people consume these beans preserved with pesticides, they are exposed to their harmful effects. Cancer, kidney diseases, reproductive disorders among others are some of the long-term effect of these chemicals on the human body.
Read Also: What Happens When Beans Are Soaked In Water?
How long to soak beans before cooking?
Generally, beans require several hours of soaking to soften it, shorten the cooking period and improve texture. At least 6-12 hours is recommended, however you can also soak for 24 hours depending on the variety of beans. But soaking beans too long can make it become too soft and result to loss of taste and flavor.
How long does soaked beans stay before they ferment?
Soaked beans can start to ferment if left for 48 hours at room temperature. But if the soaked beans is kept in the refrigerator, it might take up to three to four days before fermentation sets in. However if you do not want to go through the process of soaking for several hours, you can parboil the beans for 5-10 minutes, turn off the heat and allow it to stand for 1-2 hours before you strain, rinse and cook.
Does soaking reduce gas?
Beans, an excellent source of plant-based protein are rich in fiber which causes the release of gas from the digestive system through the anus. Beans also contain complex sugars called oligosaccharides which the human body finds difficult to digest. As such, they pass undigested through the stomach to the large intestine where they ferment and produce gases.
Yes, soaking may reduce gas. According to a publication by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on May 28, 2014, cooking practices like soaking beans in water, discarding the water afterwards before cooking and cooking in water with a more alkaline pH can reduce oligosaccharide content and make the beans less gassy.
But studies has not shown that a particular way of soaking or cooking eliminated gas completely. So do not give up on consuming beans because they are nutrient dense and comes with a lot of health benefits such as regulating blood glucose and insulin levels, help fight heart diseases and cancer, control appetite, lower cholesterol and improve digestive functions. It may interest you to note that beans offer the same vitamins and minerals you get from vegetables.
How to soften beans while cooking
Adding small quantity of baking soda to the beans while cooking softens the beans. Baking soda makes the pectin weak by releasing sodium ions into the water. It also creates an alkaline environment that causes the pectin molecules to break down further into smaller molecules resulting in the softness of the beans.
Is 48 hours too long to soak beans?
Though some people may want to argue that it’s okay to soak beans for 48 hours as long as the soaked beans are refrigerated but the truth is that the beans will lose their texture and familiar flavor and become soft and pulpy. From personal experience, 8-12 hours of soaking is fine or at most 24 hours for best results.
How to cook dry beans fast
Cooking my dry beans without soaking is something I have done severally simply because it skipped my memory to soak it on time and I needed to eat beans. My favorite is the variety of black-eyed peas known as Nigerian Honey beans. It is a type of brown beans also referred to as “ewa oloyin” in Yoruba and is usually sweet when cooked.
Add water to your pot and bring to boil. Pour your dirt and stone free beans into the pot and allow to boil for 5-10 minutes. Put off the gas and allow it to stand for one hour. Strain the beans and rinse 2-3 times before putting back in the pot to cook.
Finally discover the variety that suits you or gives you less gas and keep to it because people’s system react differently to different legumes.
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