Beans, beans the magical fruit…Well, we all know that little saying. Beans are notoriously difficult to digest, causing many people digestive distress. Beans contain phytic acid, which stores phosphorus for the young bean plant. The problem comes when we humans try to eat untreated beans. The phytic acid in the bean acts as an enzyme inhibitor, which are needed for digestion. Pepsin, in the stomach, for protein, Amylase for sugar, and Trypsin, in the small intestine, for protein, are all inhibited by phytic acid. (1)
Phytic acid also acts as a mineral blocker. Phytates actually combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestines, preventing them from being absorbed. (1) This can lead to mineral deficiencies. Soaking your beans for a minimum of 8 hours will deactivate the phytic acid. Here’s how!
How to soak your beans…
- For most beans, soak for 8-24 hours or overnight in filtered water.
- For best results, you want to use 3 cups of water per cup of beans.
- Discard soaking water, and use fresh water prior to cooking according to your recipe. Cooking times vary, depending on the type of bean and/or the cooking device used. You can find a chart at culturedfoodlife.com.
- Stovetop – 1-2 hours
- Pressure cooker – 15-25 minutes (see your cooker instructions for specific times)
- Crock pot – high for 1 hour, then low for 8-12 hours, or until beans are soft.