How to Prevent Gas Production When Cooking Lentils, Chickpeas, and Other Legumes

Legumes are essential in our pantry. Peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or fava beans, all are highly adaptable in the kitchen and offer an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, with low fat content and a moderate glycemic index. It’s no surprise that all representations of a healthy diet include them as a staple. In Spain, health authorities recommend consuming at least three to four servings of legumes per week. However, legumes present a drawback: their heavy digestions. Not everyone tolerates them well due to indigestion and the gases that can be bothersome. After consuming a dish of chickpeas, beans, or lentils, which are known to cause gas, it is common to feel uncomfortable abdominal bloating. How can we improve digestion and avoid these gases?

Reasons Why Legumes Cause Gas

The cause of this problem lies in the complex carbohydrates present in legumes, especially in indigestible oligosaccharides such as raffinose and stachyose. These sugars cannot be broken down or digested by our metabolism and pass directly to the large intestine, where they are fermented by intestinal bacteria, producing gases that cause flatulence and bloating. Although some studies suggest that raffinose may have beneficial effects on gut flora, its breakdown leads to gas production, affecting some people more than others, especially those with intestinal issues.

Avoiding Gas After Consuming Legumes

To reduce gas production, it is necessary to remove these oligosaccharides from legumes. Some strategies include soaking and rinsing the legumes before cooking them, cooking them slowly to ensure proper breakdown of the oligosaccharides, adding spices and herbs that help reduce flatulence, consuming them in pureed form, and chewing them properly. It is also advisable to start with small portions if we are not accustomed to consuming them and gradually increase the quantity to allow our body to adapt.

Published by The Usa Herald, news and information agency.

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