Beans Beans the Magical Fruit: The Easiest Beans to Digest

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Beans are a great source of B vitamins, potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, and zinc. But are beans hard to digest? Learn how to prepare the healthiest and easiest beans to digest. Once you try these beans you’ll forget the rhyme “beans beans the magical fruit…”

Why Beans are Great

Beans are full of fiber and protein, and they’re cheap. Who doesn’t love a filling pot of soup, or red beans and rice, that can feed 8 people for about $3?

Beans are affordable, economical, and easy to dry store for long periods. Beans are also a great source of B vitamins, potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Unfortunately, beans are not easy to digest, and unless prepared properly, all the beneficial protein, vitamins and minerals are not bioavailable.

wrinkly dry pinto beans in water, just starting to plum up from soaking.

Are Beans Hard to Digest?

The simple answer is yes. As the timeless childhood rhyme indicates, beans are hard to digest. However, with proper preparation, they can transform into an easy-to-digest superfood.

Beans are high in protein and fiber, making them great for gut health. The sugars in beans, though, make them difficult to digest. A lot of people experience gas and cramping after eating beans (beans, beans the magical fruit).

Raw beans also contain anti-nutrients like tannins, lectins, and phytic acid. These compounds make it hard to absorb beneficial nutrients and vitamins from beans. Anti-nutrients can interfere with the absorption of calcium, potassium and zinc.

FODMAPs and Beans

Beans contain oligosaccharides and fructans, two sugars also known as FODMAPs. FODMAPs can ferment in the colon and trigger IBS symptoms in many people.

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars). When FODMAPs make it to the large intestine undigested, microbes in the colon can ferment them causing discomfort and lots of gas.

the easiest beans to digest, dry beans soaking in a white bowl with warm water. Bubbly sourdough starter floats on the surface of the water on top the beans.

Beans Beans the Magical Fruit

People with IBS are advised to stay away from FODMAPS. Healthy human bodies do produce the enzymes to break apart linkages in oligosaccharides and fructans, but we do not make the enzymes to digest the complex carbs completelybut microbes do.

When beans are soaked with microbes that ferment carbs, the microbes digest the FODMAPS, making it much easier for you to digest.

For instance, the healthy bacteria and yeast in sourdough starters can pre-digest FODMAPs in beans and eliminate anti-nutrients. If we allow microbes to do the fermenting before we eat the beans, significantly less fermenting occurs in our digestive tracts.

What are the Easiest Beans to Digest?

There are five main ways to make beans easier to digest.

  • Fermenting into miso and tempeh
  • soaking
  • soaking with active sourdough starter
  • sprouting
  • cooking

Now, I added cooking to this list because beans should always be cooked before eating. Cooking eliminates a good bit of anti-nutrients too. I suggest using one of the first three methods and then cooking for the most digestable beans.

soaked beans scooped out of a bowl into a slotted wooden spoon.

The Easiest Beans to Digest are Fermented

I like employing microorganisms and fermentation for the easiest to digest beans with the most bioavailable nutrition. Proteins, vitamins, and minerals in beans become easier to digest and absorb after fermentation.

Two of the healthiest ways to prepare beans is to make tempeh and miso. But, we can also use microorganisms to simply soak and cook beans.

Preparing the Easiest Beans to Digest

It’s easy to prepare beans that are much easier to digest, and also more flavorful. Begin by soaking your beans for a few hours until plump, then rinse. Next, soak the beans for 24 hours in warm water with sourdough starter. You only need a couple of tablespoons of active bubbly sourdough starter.

Also, I want to note that this soaking method works with any beans. So here are my favorite beans to prepare this way:

After soaking rinse the beans well and cook them. You can cook them in a pressure cooker or on the stove. For delicious recipes with beans I suggest the cookbook Cool Beans.

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Beans Beans the Magical Fruit: The Easiest Beans to Digest

Beans are a great source of B vitamins, potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, and zinc. But are beans hard to digest? Learn how to prepare the healthiest and easiest beans to digest. Once you try these beans you’ll forget the rhyme “beans beans the magical fruit…”

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Fermented Foods
  • Method: Soaking

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup beans, dry
  • water
  • 1/4 cup sourdough starter, active

Instructions

  1. Rinse the beans, cover them with warm water and soak for about 3 hours until plump.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans, then cover them with fresh warm water.
  3. Stir in the sourdough starter, and mix until it is dissolved in the water.
  4. Soak the beans at room temperature with the starter water mixture for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
  5. Drain and rinse the beans well.
  6. Cook as usual or use in specific recipes. (I like to cook the beans in broth in my dutch oven until tender or incorporate them into soups)
  7. If you enjoy this recipe, leave a review below!

Notes

For delicious recipes with beans I suggest the cookbook Cool Beans.

Keywords: beans, soaking, fermented, sourdough

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