Beans are deliciously prepared in many different cuisines around the world. Beans are the primary source of protein in many parts of Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, where meat is not a significant part of the diet or is not readily available.
They are one of the best vegan sources of iron and have a high protein and amino acid profile, but they are high in antinutrients and other undesirables.
Aside from their plant-based protein, one of their best health benefits is that they are high in fibre, which benefits your entire body by improving health and preventing illness and disease.
Lentils, peas, fava beans, chickpeas, navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans are examples of beans. Beans come in over 800 different varieties.
Soaking beans before cooking is one way to reduce these negative aspects of beans (soaking beans is vital for softening them as well). People have soaked beans and nuts for centuries, but it wasn’t until recently that the science behind their benefits became clear.
Do soaked beans have a pleasant taste and texture?
According to some sources, long-soaked beans do not retain as much flavour or texture.
To begin with, this is not true. Second, digestion is more important than a subtle flavour or texture variation.
Even after a 6-day soak, I get a deliciously flavoured and textured bean.
Soaked beans | Nutritional value
According to the USDA, 100g of soaked or boiled pinto beans contains the following nutrients:
- Energy: 143 Kcal
- Protein: 9.01g
- Fat: 0.65g
- Carb: 26.2g
- Fibre: 9g
- Calcium: 46mg
- Iron: 2.09mg
- Magnesium: 50 mg
- Potassium: 436mg
- Zinc: 0.98mg
Are soaked beans less nutritious?
Certainly not. Soaking improves the nutritional value of beans.
Otherwise, a bean is a dormant seed with inaccessible nutrition. Soaking causes the seed (bean) to germinate, which allows two things to happen:
- Phytic acid is reduced, which would otherwise bind with minerals in the gut, reducing the nutritional value of meals. (source) (Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorus, a natural substance found in seeds.)
- The nutrition in the bean can now be digested and assimilated by our bodies.
Soaked beans are not only more nutritious but also contain fewer lectins. Lectins can damage the gut lining and even cause the leaky gut syndrome.
Benefits of soaked beans
Phytic acid is a compound found in various plant-based foods, especially grains and beans. It’s also known as inositol hexaphosphate. Plants use phytic acid as a phosphorus storage agent in their beans, seeds, and nuts. Because this acid prevents the body from absorbing nutrients, it is closely monitored. It prevents the body from absorbing iron, zinc, and calcium.
According to research, reducing phytic acid also improved zinc, calcium, and iron absorption. Most people consider beans a good source of these minerals, but few are aware of phytic acid, which prevents these minerals from being absorbed into human bodies. As a result, people must concentrate on removing these inhibitors and increasing the biological value of our foods.
When beans are soaked in water, they absorb water, causing phytic acid to be released. Peas have 9% phytic acid after soaking for 12 hours. In some other beans, the percentage can be even higher. Soak beans overnight before eating to ensure that nutrition is properly absorbed in your body.
Reduce Tannins and Polyphenols
Tannin is a micronutrient that is found in polyphenols. Polyphenols can be found in a variety of fruits, nuts, and seeds. Supplements contain these micronutrients as well.
Although they are easily obtained through diet, these are good antioxidants beneficial to health. However, in the case of beans, polyphenols have some disadvantages.
Polyphenols bind positively charged minerals such as iron, proteins, and zinc. It prevents these minerals from being absorbed. The reduced polyphenol effect may aid in nutrient absorption.
According to research, soaking is an excellent way to eliminate polyphenols, including tannins. When beans soak in water, the enzyme polyphenol oxidase is activated, which breaks down polyphenol. This polyphenol breakdown is soaked in water, resulting in beans that are free of mineral inhibitors. After 3-4 hours of soaking, there is a significant reduction in polyphenols in beans.
Polyphenol is a dietary component as well as a powerful antioxidant. However, its presence in beans causes it to work negatively, so always use soaked and polyphenol-free beans; it also helps with digestion.
The plant’s seeds, beans, and fruits all contain anti-nutritional enzymes. These enzymes have no nutritional value and should not be present in foods.
These have a negative impact on the biological value of food. Beans contain anti-nutritional enzyme inhibitors such as trypsin and chymotrypsin. Unfortunately, these non-nutritive components also bind with nutritive elements like minerals like iron or zinc, making them difficult to absorb.
Soaking beans reduces the extraction of these nutritive foes of beans. As a result, it improves overall nutrient absorption in the body and increases the biological value of beans. Soaking beans overnight is usually adequate.
Eliminates gas-causing compounds
Most people experience gas problems when they consume a large amount of beans. On the other hand, beans can cause bloating, gas, farting, and flatulence in some people. The reason for such problems is that people are unable to digest oligosaccharides.
Oligosaccharide is an etymological term that means “a few saccharides.” The unit structure of carbohydrates is referred to as a saccharide. An oligosaccharide is thus a carbohydrate made up of a few saccharides, i.e. three to ten (mono) saccharide units.
Because it cannot be digested in the small intestine, it moves to the large intestine, where it uses these oligosaccharides, causing a lot of gas and abdominal rumbling, which can sometimes lead to diarrhoea.
Soaking beans has been shown to help reduce such compounds. It frees beans from the oligosaccharide effect and makes them simple to digest. To get rid of beans, you do not need to soak them.
Reduce cooking time
When people cook beans, they should let them boil for a while. This process is used to remove anti-nutritive compounds and soften them quickly. Cooking may be quick, but soaking beans can be left overnight.
It softens them, removes gas-causing compounds, increases nutritional enzymes, and reduces tannins and polyphenols. This method is superior to boiling beans because boiling beans removes some of the essential nutrients. Soaking beans overnight before cooking or eating them is a better option.
Soaking beans makes them easier to digest and cuts down on cooking time. Soaking extracts some unwanted and harmful components from beans, reducing micronutrient absorption. Soaking also aids in the removal of gas-producing components such as oligosaccharides, which are unsuitable for human consumption.
It softens the beans so that they can be eaten without being cooked. Soaked beans are very time-saving and quick to prepare if they are soaked in water overnight. It is best to soak beans for 8-24 hours to get the most out of them.
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