With so many people self-isolating and cooking foods that store well, chances are a lot of us are eating more beans. That’s not a bad thing; beans have lots of fiber and are very nutritious. As you might guess, though, there’s one disadvantage. When you eat beans, do you notice more gas? Most people do, and they would be happy for a way to counteract that effect.
Preventing Gas When You Eat Beans:
Q. I love to eat beans, all kinds. Unfortunately, they don’t like me.
I’ve tried Beano, but it doesn’t always help. I also have lactose intolerance and trouble digesting cruciferous vegetables. Can you recommend any products that would help prevent gas?
A. You may need to up your dose of Beano. The person who invented Beano told us many years ago that a higher dose sometimes helps when the usual dose doesn’t do the job. There is now Beano Ultra 800 to make that easier.
Other Ways to Reduce Gas When You Eat Beans:
Other options include an Indian spice called hing (Ferula asafoetida). Cooks in India add it to lentils and beans to prevent flatulence. They also appreciate the flavor it contributes. (Be forewarned: prior to cooking, it smells very stinky.)
In Mexico, cooks add a different herb. They believe epazote reduces flatulence from eating beans.
In our eGuide to Digestive Disorders we offer other potential solutions such as fennel, “bitters,” Pepto-Bismol and probiotics. You can find this electronic publication with more details in the Health eGuide section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Could Your Medicine Be to Blame?
In the eGuide to Digestive Disorders, we include a list of medications that can cause flatulence. Obviously, you can’t just stop taking a medicine to see if it is the culprit. You need to discuss that with your health care provider. But you should consider the possibility that adjusting your regimen would reduce the flatulence you suffer when you eat beans.
Consider Celiac Disease:
It would also be helpful to rule out celiac disease. People with this auto-immune condition may develop extremely smelly gas and stool when they consume gluten. These are not the only symptoms of celiac disease, but you should pay attention to them.
Change Your Diet:
The range of intestinal problems you mention suggests you might have irritable bowel syndrome. If that is the case, you could try a low FODMAP diet for six weeks, with a gradual re-introduction of the restricted foods over three months or so. Italian researchers found that this approach significantly reduced gas, bloating, stomach pain and other problems (Nutrients, March 27, 2020).
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols (such as sorbitol or maltitol). To follow a low FODMAP diet, you’d eliminate foods containing fructose. Fruits such as apples, pears, raisins and stone fruits such as cherries or peaches are high in fructose. Vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli and cauliflower are also high in fermentable carbohydrates. You would reduce or eliminate them during the low FODMAP experiment. You would also want to avoid lactose-containing dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, ice cream or yogurt. In the Italian study mentioned above, volunteers also refused wheat, barley, spelt and rye during the six-week restricted period.