It saddens me when people tell me they don’t like beans, I just feel like crying (maybe not so dramatic). I love beans, I went through a phase of “no beans” when I was in high school because all the cool kids didn’t like beans. But I got over it and decided that my disliked food will be “yam porridge”, oh my dramatic teenage years. Since my next 3 recipe posts are going to be beans related, I decided to put up a "convincing" argument on why you should all eat beans :)
The first thing people complain about when they talk about beans is gas; I guess we should get down to the science of why beans gives us gas;
Many edible beans contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar molecule,an anti-oligosaccharide enzyme is necessary to properly digest these sugar molecules unfortunately the normal human digestive tract does not contain the molecules. The job of digestion is then typically done by bacteria in the large intestine; this digestion process produces flatulence-causing gases as a byproduct
So how can we avoid/reduce gas?
- Soak your beans prior to cooking 4-6hr or overnight. Soaking loosens the skin and releases the gas causing oligosaccharide
- Change the water for the beans a couple of times (while soaking and while cooking)
- Slow cooking is the best option for beans, the longer the beans is cooked the more gas is released
- Don’t add salt while cooking, it is extremely important for the beans to be extremely tender to prevent gas and sodium prevents softening (add salt when the beans is tender enough to eat)
- On the medication front (I am not a fan) the enzyme that breaks down oligosaccharides (alpha-galactosidase) which is derived from the fungus Aspergillus niger is available under the brand name Beano.
Now that we know how to better cook beans,why should we eat it anyway?
Beans are high in fiber (soluble and insoluble), a cup of cooked blacked eyed beans has 9.5gs of fiber,you will have to eat about 11 cups of white rice to get that much fiber. Beans also contain;
- Soluble fiber (to lower cholesterol thereby lowering risk of heart disease).
- Also high in Protein (for the building and repair of body tissues among other things)
- Complex carbohydrate (for energy)
- folate (for body tissues that have fast cell production and turnover, such as bone marrow and the intestinal tract)
- potassium (for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the body) Healthy adults need at least 2000 milligrams per day, and 1cup of black-eyed peas provide over 2296 milligrams.
To put things in perspective, one cup of cooked Black eyed peas has: ~200calories (30% protein and 70% carbohydrate) and a little below 50% of your daily fiber need. Without the addition of oil, there is 1g of fat in 1 cup of beans.Beans are a great way to incorporate additional nutrients into your diet without additional calories or fat.
African recipes requiring beans: Moin moin, akara, rice and beans, Ewa Agoyin, gbegiri, Adalu, sauced beans, beans and stew, Beans n yam, beans n dodo, plantain in beans.
I hope you will all join the beans wagon, I will be posting recipes on Rice n Beans, Akara and sauced beans in the days ahead.