It’s common to soak beans before cooking. But many people don’t even know why they do it! As it turns out, this extra step is great for your health. Beans are known as superfoods. One cup offers 15 grams of protein, making them a smart choice for vegetarians and vegans. Replacing red meat with beans can actually lower your risk for multiple diseases. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and especially fiber. Most Americans don’t get the recommended intake of 20 to 30 grams a day, but beans can help. Additionally, fiber and protein prevent weight gain by increasing satiety.1 Beans also taste great, minus the saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Superfood, indeed. Despite all these benefits, soaking will take it up a notch. Check out these health benefits from soaking dry beans.
1. Soaking Dry Beans Reduces Bloating
After eating beans, it’s common to feel bloated and gassy. The culprit? Two carbohydrates called stachyose and raffinose. Humans don’t have the enzymes to break them down, resulting in flatulence. Soaking partially removes stachyose and raffinose.2 In turn, beans are much easier to digest. The high-fiber content in beans can also contribute to gassiness. However, slowly increasing your intake will avoid issues. Plus, once you remove stachyose and raffinose, it’ll also be easier on the stomach.
2. Soaking Dry Beans Removes Nutrient-Blocking Polyphenols
Beans are awesome sources of polyphenol, a potent antioxidant. Unfortunately, they bind to vital nutrients so your body can’t absorb them.3 It’s the exact opposite of what you want. Soaking increases the activity of polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down polyphenols.4 This is great news for bioavailability. With less polyphenols blocking the good stuff, your body can better absorb vitamins, minerals, and protein.5
3. Soaking Dry Beans Decreases Mineral-Blocking Phytic Acid
Phosphorous is stored in beans as phytic acid. In this form, it blocks the absorption of iron and zinc, two essential nutrients. Deficiencies of iron and zinc are so common that they pose a worldwide threat. Luckily, soaking significantly reduces phytic acid. The warmer the water, the better!6 It’s a great way to boost iron and zinc intake, especially if you don’t get enough.
How To Soak Dry Beans
- Check for broken beans and debris. Remove and throw away.
- Rinse in cold water to clean.
- For every two cups of beans, add 10 cups of cold water. Use a pot.
- Cover and boil for one to three minutes.
- Let sit for at least four hours, and no more than 24.7
Tips For Soaking Beans
- Always use clean water.
- For optimal removal of phytic acid, heat water to 113 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.8
- Add enough water to fully submerge all of the beans.
- If soaking for more than four hours, change the water several times.
- Toss the water after soaking.
- Soak and cook one type of bean at a time.
Tips For Eating Beans
- To prevent gas, increase intake slowly.
- Drink lots of water to avoid constipation.
- Leave for 24 hours to remove as much gas-producing compounds as possible.
Aside from these health benefits, soaking also speeds up cooking time. It also softens the texture, which some people love. With so many advantages, soaking is worth the extra step.
|↑1||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑2||Zamindar, Nafiseh, Mohamad Shahedi Baghekhandan, Ali Nasirpour, and Mahmoud Sheikhzeinoddin. “Effect of line, soaking and cooking time on water absorption, texture and splitting of red kidney beans.” Journal of food science and technology 50, no. 1 (2013): 108-114.|
|↑3||Reed, Jess D. “Nutritional toxicology of tannins and related polyphenols in forage legumes.” Journal of animal science 73, no. 5 (1995): 1516-1528.|
|↑4||Saxena, A. K., M. Chadha, and S. Sharma. “Nutrients and antinutrients in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) cultivars after soaking and pressure cooking.” Journal of Food Science and Technology 40, no. 5 (2003): 493-497.|
|↑5||Khandelwal, Shweta, Shobha A. Udipi, and Padmini Ghugre. “Polyphenols and tannins in Indian pulses: Effect of soaking, germination and pressure cooking.” Food Research International 43, no. 2 (2010): 526-530.|
|↑6, ↑8||Luo, Yuwei, and Weihua Xie. “Effect of soaking and sprouting on iron and zinc availability in green and white faba bean (Vicia faba L.).” Journal of food science and technology 51, no. 12 (2014): 3970-3976.|
|↑7, ↑9||All About Beans Nutrition, Health Benefits, Preparation and Use in Menus. North Dakota State University.|