Proper way to Cook Beans in Order to Maximize its Nutritional Value and Digestion
Here you are going to learn proper ways to cook your legumes in order to diminish anti-nutrient content, phytic acid and lectins, and make them more digestible and nutritive.
What is an anti-nutrient?
Anti-nutrients are natural or synthetic compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients in our diet and cause gastrointestinal symptoms as bloating, gas and indigestion.
They are found in different levels in a variety of foods such as grains, beans/legumes, nuts, vegetables, roots, fruits, spices, and commonly eaten plants.
Anti-nutrients vary from benefiting us when they are in lower levels to cause harm when they are in higher levels, and they may negatively affect digestion and absorption of food.
‘Phytic acid – is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially the bran portion of cereals and grains.’
Why do we have to care about Phytic Acid?
Phytic acid content varies a lot between plants in general and has a strong binding affinity to important minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium, making them unavailable as well. Also, phytic acid inhibits enzymes that we need to proper digestion of our food, including pepsin (breakdown of protein in the stomach), amylase (breakdown of starch into sugar), trypsin (needed for protein digestion in the small intestine.)
How about lectins?
“Lectins are a type of protein that bind specifically to certain sugars and so cause agglutination of particular cell types.”
They are resistant to human digestion and also, may interfere with digestion and absorption of food, cause changes in the gut flora, inflammation, damage the membranes of the epithelium linen, trigger autoimmune responses, etc.
Lectins in plants have been suggested to act as toxins to defend the host against parasites, pests and insect, and they have evolved in a way to seeds/grains remain intact as they passed through animals’ digestive systems, for later dispersal.
To maximize nutrient in beans it needs proper preparation as soaking, fermenting or sprouting to reduce its phytic acid content, and properly cooking to inactivate the lectin they contain.
Proper preparing legumes actually improves digestion, and cooking may decrease anti-nutrient factors and diminish the gases forming compounds transforming beans in a good source of fiber and protein to be included, if well tolerated, once or twice a week in the context of a nutrient-dense diet.
Here is the recipe