Although lentils are nutritious, they are full of raffinose sugars, which are difficult for the body to break down. In fact, the human body is missing the enzyme required to break down this type of sugar. As the intestines feed on raffinose sugars, they release carbon dioxide and hydrogen, which causes uncomfortable gas. However, there are several ways that you can help treat lentil-caused gas.
Boil your lentils for three minutes prior to soaking them to release some of the raffinose sugars that contribute to gas.
Soak your lentils overnight after boiling them. Soaking causes them to ferment naturally, which helps reduce intestinal gas. Add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water to help remove raffinose sugars from the lentils.
Cook your lentils in a slow cooker for several hours to help reduce some of the gas-causing compounds.
Add acidic ingredients such as molasses or tomatoes only after you've cooked the lentils. Acidic foods like these prevent the lentils from softening. Beans are more easily digested when soft.
Take an over-the-counter digestive aid to help break down raffinose sugars and relieve gas.
Rinse canned lentils thoroughly before consuming them to help get rid of some of the raffinose sugars that cause gas.
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- University of Michigan Integrative Medicine: Healing Foods Pyramid: Legumes
- BMC Gastroenterology: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Parallel-Group Dual Site Trial to Evaluate the Effects of a Bacillus Coagulans-Based Product on Functional Intestinal Gas Symptoms