Why Do Beans Make You Fart?

Beans, like legumes, are packed full of nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, but there is a downside-making you fart. So why do beans make you fart? Beans are infamously hard to digest due to their high levels of protein and complex carbohydrates. Beans contain oligosaccharides which are sugars that remain undigested until they reach your colon where they mix with your stomach bacteria. The good news is that there are ways to make beans more easily digested.

Why Do Beans Make You Fart?

Beans contain natural sugars known as oligosaccharides (the common ones in beans being raffinose and stachyose). These sugars are large, awkward molecules that are not easily digested by our stomachs enzymes. For this reason, the sugar molecules remain whole as they pass through the small intestine and into the large intestine still intact. Here the oligosaccharides are met by the 700+ species of bacteria that reside within your lower stomach. These bacteria are capable of breaking down the sugar molecules. This metabolic activity produces gases which include hydrogen and methane. As the gas accumulates, it is eventually released by your body as a fart. 

Ways to Avoid Gas from Beans

1. Choose Fresh or Dried Beans Instead of Canned Beans

Since you have got the answer to the question "why do beans make you fart", you can avoid the embarrassing moment by removing the fart-inducing elements. Most canned beans contain added salt and bisphenol A (BPA) which have a negative effect on you endocrine system (a collection of glands that regulate metabolism). Choosing beans with less fiber, such as edamame, black-eyed peas, adzuki, and baby lima beans, and consuming them with foods that are easily digestible will also be beneficial in avoiding the build-up of gas in your stomach.

2. Soak Dried Beans Overnight

Soaking beans for eight hours will reduce the amount of oligosaccharides within the beans, helping to make the beans more easily digestible. Soaking the beans will also decrease phytic acid levels (phytic acid attaches to vitamins and minerals, making them less attainable to your body). You can soak the beans overnight, or in the morning so they are ready to use for dinner.

3. Drain and Rinse After Soaking

Soaking beans releases starch and phytate (phytic acid in salt form). It is important to drain and rinse the beans properly after soaking. Pour the beans into a colander to drain and then rinse them in clean water to eliminate any starches or phytates that were released. Once soaked, drained and rinsed, the beans are ready for cooking.

4. Add Kombu During Cooking

Adding seaweeds like kombu or kelp to beans during the cooking process can be extremely helpful in making beans more digestible, as well as adding extra vitamins and minerals to the already nutritious beans. There are also various spices that can be added during the cooking process which help to aid the body in digestion. These spices include, but are not limited to, fennel, ginger and cumin. 

5. Eat Small Amounts

If you are just beginning to heavily include beans within your diet, consume them in small amounts at first so your body has some time to adjust. Some people may always struggle to digest beans, even if they have been regularly consuming them for many years. If you are one of these people, you can still consume beans, just practice moderation. 

6. Chew Thoroughly

Swallowing large quantities of food with little chewing will often lead to poor digestion and can dramatically increase the likelihood of food fermenting in your bowel, causing flatulence. Chewing beans thoroughly will mix them with saliva, beginning the digestive process. Proper chewing will also make it easier for your stomach to break the beans down, reducing the chance of food reaching your lower intestine un-digested or only partially digested.

7. Use Probiotics

Excessive gas and pungent flatulence is not only caused by beans, it can also be a sign of unbalanced intestinal flora. Consuming probiotics will repopulate your intestinal flora with healthy strains, helping to promote overall digestive health. The healthy strains delivered by probiotics battle the pathogenic bacteria within your intestinal flora, avoiding serious long term problems far worse than flatulence.

8. Take Gas Relieving Supplement

Some species of fungus naturally contain the right enzymes to break down oligosaccharides. These enzymes are often extracted and turned into gas-relieving supplements. These often come in tablet form. Taking one before dinner will allow the enzymes to break down the large oligosaccharide molecules into smaller, more beneficial sugars like sucrose, fructose and glucose. 

After all, stop wondering "why do beans make you fart" and try the above methods to digest the beans better. At the same time, your body can absorb more nutrition from the beans. 

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