Why Beans Make You Fart and 2 Simple Ways to Stop Gassiness After Eating Them
Most people know that beans make you fart. But just why do they make you so gassy?
And if you still choose to eat this otherwise healthy and nutritious food, how can you greatly minimize the amount of flatulence they cause?
Why Do Beans Give You Bad Gas?
Beans are high in fiber and loaded with vegetable protein. They are also low in fat and contain minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and zinc.
Varieties like pinto, navy, great northern, red kidney and black beans are an excellent source of B vitamins, particularly folate and B1.
Canned baked beans also contain some B vitamins, though they do have much more sodium and bisphenol A from plastic can linings may be an issue.
All kinds of legumes are rich in soluble fiber, which is considered beneficial for digestive wellness and preventing constipation. Unfortunately, it’s this same soluble fiber that’s also behind the stomach gas, belly rumbling and excessive wind when you eat them.
The way beans make you fart starts with oligosaccharides they contain, such as raffinose and stachyose. These indigestible carbohydrates are not absorbed in your small intestine during digestion. Instead they pass through to your large intestine intact.
While the digestive processes of the small intestine cannot break down oligosaccharides, the bacteria in your colon thrive on them. And they produce large amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases through bacterial fermentation.
Eating foods high in raffinose and other oligosaccharides usually leads to an increase in gas-causing bacteria in your lower intestine. And a corresponding increase in bloating, farting and other symptoms of gassiness.
Which Varieties of Legumes Cause the Most Bloating and Gassiness?
Chickpeas, soybeans, navy beans, pinto, black and red kidney beans are commonly ranked as the most gassy types of legumes. Scientific studies confirm that these varieties are all high in indigestible oligosaccharides like raffinose and stachyose.
By comparison, adzuki beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are listed as some of the least gassy legumes due to their lower oligosaccharide content. Even these types will make you windy though if eaten in anything more than a small serving.
Can You Have Beans Without Farting?
Soaking dried legumes overnight, or for at least 12 hours before cooking them can greatly reduce the amount of gas-causing oligosaccharides they contain, as well as mineral-binding phytates.
If you prepare them like this then remember to drain out the water you’ve soaked them in. Then boil them in fresh water. Ideally add some gas-combating fennel seeds or fresh ginger near the end of cooking to further improve their digestibility.
You can’t soak canned baked beans though and many people want a more convenient option than overnight soaking before cooking legumes like lentils and chickpeas.
The reason why people have problems digesting legumes is that we lack the alpha-galactosidase enzyme in our digestive tract. This enzyme breaks down indigestible oligosaccharides into smaller components so they can be digested.
For many years, people have taken a product called Beano, which contains supplemental alpha-galactosidase to help reduce gassiness from beans.
Now there’s a new option called BeanAssist. It contains a similar amount of alpha-galactosidase, but is much less and isn’t made with fish gelatin, so it can be used by vegetarians or vegans.
How to Stop Baked Beans Making You Gassy
Using alpha-galactosidase supplements like BeanAssist is the easiest way to avoid bloating and farting when you eat baked beans and other foods high in oligosaccharides.
The directions recommend taking one capsule at the same time as any meals containing beans, chickpeas, lentils or other legumes. If you are already experiencing belly bloat or bad gas after eating them then it’s too late. Take them with your meal for effective results.
You can also prevent gassiness from other oligosaccharide-rich vegetables, such as cabbage, mushrooms or broccoli, by take a capsule of alpha-galactosidase when you eat them. It’s a simple solution to keep on hand whenever you want to enjoy these kinds of foods without farting.
Legumes aren’t the only type of food that makes you fart. There are many other causes of flatulence, such as poor digestion from eating too fast, the lactose in milk, high fructose foods, low stomach acid or digestive enzymes, and even coffee or soda interfering with digestion. Fixes for all of these digestive issues are covered on this site.
For beans and legumes though, as well as other gas causing vegetables high in oligosaccharides, using this simple solution is the easiest way to enjoy them without the gassiness.