A lot of people I’ve talked to have either not tried or are hesitant to incorporate legumes into their weekly meals due to the taste or when they have tried to introduce them, struggled with bloating. I’ll get to the why in the moment but first, here are some great reasons to incorporate legumes:
- They are a rich source of fibre and B vitamins
- Can assist with cholesterol reduction, blood sugar balance & increasing healthy gut bacteria
- Antioxidant rich
- Plant Protein!
- They are super versatile & delicious in recipes
Why do they cause me gas/bloating?
All legumes contain anti-nutrients such as phytates and tannins, which can inhibit the nutrient availability. By soaking the day before, you make minerals more capable of absorption such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper. Not only do phytates and tannins inhibit absorption of these nutrients, they can also create digestion difficulty. This can show up as gas, bloating, and bowel movement discomfort. By planning ahead and leaving legumes to soak overnight you not only maximize nutrients but minimize discomfort.
This not only goes for legumes, you can also soak nuts, seeds & grains to help with digestion and insuring absorption of those minerals!
Nuts & seeds: Nuts and seeds contain moderate levels of phytic acid and enzyme inhibiters. These are essential to protect the nutrients prior to eating them, but can effect our ability to access this them during digestion. Make sure they are raw when soaking- different nuts and seeds vary in soaking time. A great rule of thumb is the harder the nut, the longer the soaking time. If you are using your nuts to create a cashew cream sauce or nut milk this can help to reduce the blending time & create a creamier finished product.
Grains: By soaking the grains overnight, you activate the enzyme phytase. Phytase breaks down phytic acid which binds to minerals like zinc, calcium and iron. This enzyme assists in the breaking down of these minerals and makes them more available to your body to absorb. Not only will this help with reducing the cooking time, but also achieving the optimal texture of these grains!
Soak in room temperature water. Discard the water afterwards and give them a rinse. Do not using the soaking water for cooking. This water contains the anti-nutrients.
It can get overwhelming thinking about all the things you have to soak. Take a breath!
You will still absorb nutrients without soaking every single time you eat a nut, seed or legume. Living a busy life means there are times you will not be able to and that’s ok!
For me personally, I prioritize my legumes. I found without soaking it was next to impossible to eat them without discomfort. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel great after having seeds you can probably do without soaking them. If you are soaking and still feeling discomfort this could be a sign of other imbalances. If so please feel free to reach out, so we can find a way for you to get the optimal amount of nutrients, while feeling your best.