If Beans Give You Gas, This Cooking Hack Will Change Your Life

I used to avoid burritos, three-bean chili, black bean burgers, and garlicky hummus. They were just not on my menu, because beans just didn't agree with me. I love all those delicious foods, and I know legumes are a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and other nutrients, but I'd rather miss out than suffer the smelly embarrassing consequences. Unless you're a 5-year-old, farting in public is mortifying and not at all funny.

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What if I told you that you could have your beans without any bloating or gas? I spoke with certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, and here are five tips that helped me deal with beans and gas.

How to Prep, Cook, and Eat Beans

  1. Choose the right beans. Black beans and lentils are easier to digest, so start with these. The harder-to-digest ones are chickpeas, soybeans, navy beans, and kidney beans.
  2. Soak dry beans in water for at least eight hours, but the longer the better; try overnight. Discard the water, then add new water and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Then drain the liquid and rinse before using the beans. The main carbohydrate that causes gas in beans is oligosaccharide. These carbohydrates are hard to digest, but this cooking technique can reduce lots of the gas-producing compounds.
  3. Soaking and cooking your own beans will be easier to digest than canned beans, so make the switch and it'll be easier on your belly and your wallet (dry beans are way cheaper!). They're also more flavorful than canned. If you are eating canned beans, rinsing and draining them well will help get rid of those hard-to-digest carbs.
  4. Gradually add beans into your diet and consume in small portions to help your body get used to digesting them. Eating beans on a regular basis is a way to help teach your gut bacteria how to digest them better.
  5. Eating beans with an easily digestible grain like rice can help to decrease gassiness because it can help to dilute the oligosaccharides. Also adding certain spices like ginger and turmeric can improve digestion.

Leslie adds that if following these tips still causes symptoms, try Beano. It "contains the enzyme needed to break down the oligosaccharides as well as other hard-to-digest compounds in beans and foods like broccoli."