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How To Prepare Beans Without Causing Heart Burns Or Stomach Upset

Beans causing heartburn, how to prevent

Yes, it has come to a very interesting topic - food. One of the things that bring everyone together. In this post, I will talk about how to prevent burning stomach after having a beans meal.

Bean is a collective name for many different types of beans, which refer to seeds of legume crops. However, the term 'beans' has now been synonymously used to describe a specific type of bean, also known as cowpea which biologically belongs to the family of legumes known as Fabaceae, is a very nutritive food that has formed a staple in Nigeria and other African countries. 

It is not restricted to these areas, many other peoples and regions of the world also consume beans as a staple. However, the nutritive value of the food is often underplayed because of certain modifiable factors that may affect how much people love to consume this great diet. These, you will also learn about in this post.

Beans are consumed in different forms and combinations in Nigeria and Africa in general. Some of these forms include the following;

  • Beans can be cooked alone as oil beans porridge, where palm oil is commonly used.
  • It can be cooked with yam or plantain or both, as a yam-and-beans porridge, plantain-and-beans porridge, or yam-plantain-beans porridge.

  • It can be combined with rice in the popular combination known as 'rice and beans' where it can be eaten with stew, soups or sauce, or as a Jollof (a one-pot combo).

  • It can be processed into puddings known as moi-moi in Nigeria. These beans puddings are made from beans ground into powder(flour) or wet-blending into a paste.

  • The flour or paste above can be fried into beans cake, commonly known as akara in Nigeria.

  • All of these can be eaten with any other supplementary food like plantain, yam, garri (cassava flour), bread, etc, and in different variations.

Beans is rich in carbohydrate (approx 21%) and protein (approx 42%) and many other essential nutrients and minerals. These nutrient values are also based on the type and species of the beans being consumed.

More than 10 varieties of beans are grown in the United States and have been named according to their colours, shapes or some other indications. Examples of these species are displayed below:

Navy beans

Pinto beans

Cranberry beans

Great Northern beans

Light-red kidney beans

Pink beans

Small red beans

Dark-red kidney beans

Black beans

These may be named differently in your own area, and some of these species are absent in Nigeria and some parts of Africa. But as far as we know, all species of edible beans have great health benefits to everyone, both young and old.

This might be a topic for another day but just as a highlight, eating beans may reduce the incidence of certain diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming at least 1.5 cups of beans per week to maximize the health benefits of this wonder food.

But like they say, good things don't come without a cost. Beans is one of such good things that, despite its great nutritional, health and even economical benefits, it is often associated with a major problem to people in places where it is consumed.

Beans have been reported to cause some digestive problems to people worldwide. This has impacted the consumption of the diet in varying degrees. However, new methods and hacks are being discovered on how to enjoy beans while preventing the problems that may arise. Some of these digestive problems include the following;

  • Gassing and bloating of the stomach/abdomen.
  • Heartburns or stomach ulcers.
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling of fullness

I have deliberately skipped a whole bunch of other problems associated with beans especially in its preparations, like long cooking time, etc. But suffice that the major advantages of ease of preparation and cost-friendliness of this staple far outweigh those problems.

We are not going to ignore the digestive problems, are we? Most of those digestive problems I listed above arise due to one of two reasons;
Either due to the natural composition of beans that make it cause some of these problems or due to chemical preservatives that may have been used to store it. An understanding of these two factors will help us find a way to circumvent these problems of indigestion, heartburns caused by beans, and aggravation of stomach ulcers.

In terms of the natural composition of beans that may result in heartburns or bloating, beans have been found to contain Rafinnose, a type of oligosaccharide carbohydrate that is poorly digested by our digestive system. The mechanisms through which this causes heartburn will be explained shortly, however, bacteria in the large intestine are able to break down raffinose to produce gas in the intestine. This causes bloating.

Beans are susceptible to pest infestations, like weevils, bugs and other insects. In Nigeria and some other parts of Africa where the storage system is still rudimentary or undeveloped, beans farmers and distributors resort to using insecticidal chemicals in their preservation. Analyses carried by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Daily Trust have revealed that some commercial beans farmers have used Permethrin, Malathion, Endosulfan, Aldrin and Dieldrin, and other insecticidal chemicals in unbelievably high amounts. This makes this great diet become a potential poison to consumers.

About this problem of preservative use, much has not been done about totally banning some of these insecticides from being used. However, regulations exist to restrict their use only in quantities low enough to be considered safe to man. The shortfall, however, is no matter how low these levels are, they can still cause harm or some problems either in the short term or long term. Therefore, there is a special need to find ways to make the diet enjoyable and safe for consumption by everyone.

How To Prevent Beans From Causing Heart Burns

Whenever you are done eating beans, does it make you experience a burning sensation in your stomach that spreads to your lower chest? Do you feel like drinking a lot of water or taking antacid suspensions to relieve this burning feeling? 

Beans often cause these symptoms of heartburn or stomach upset otherwise known as dyspepsia. If you have eaten beans up to a few times, you must have experienced these symptoms at least once. I'm sure you already know how discomforting it can be. 

To prevent heartburns from consuming beans, the primary goal will be removing the chemicals thoroughly in the preparation of the meal. Many methods have been proposed by different authors on how to remove these chemicals. I have personally seen more than a handful of some of those methods and procedures, but I am going to show you yet another one that has made me remember what it feels like to eat good beans without having heartburns thereafter.

Before preparation, I am quite sure you wash your beans before putting them into your cooking pot. That's a normal prerequisite. However, we can be successful in removing the preservative chemicals from the beans, the question you should be answering is, how well are you washing your beans?

Many sources encourage the use of salt, baking powder, or parboiling and extracting off the initial boiling water from the beans. Some of these methods may make you incur some extra expenses, for example, having to buy baking powder, or they may affect the overall taste of the food after preparation. What ways exist to remove the chemicals and also preserve the taste, texture and consistency of your beans? 

Here is a simple step-by-step process of removing the chemicals, so you can have a great taste and stomach experience after preparation.


  1. Soak the picked beans in clean water a few levels above all the bean seeds in the bowl.
  2. Leave for a 3-5 minutes, you can also proceed to the next step immediately if you are in a hurry .
  3. Then wash in a gentle squeezing fashion with your hand, as though you are forming a fist while the beans are in your folded palms.
  4. Discard off the water.
  5. Then, pour in more water and mix again, this time, less vigorously.
  6. Pour off the water, and replace it with another clean water.
  7. Then pack the clean beans with your hand or a perforated spoon, into the pot.
  8. Then cook normally.
  9. As a sign that your beans is thoroughly washed, you should see some of the bean skins flaked into the water.

I gathered that the chemicals used in storing beans are usually applied in liquid form and are allowed to dry on them. Hence, it may require special efforts to dissolve off the chemicals and wash them off before cooking, and you noticed in the procedures above that there are three cycles of specialized washing, no more, no less.

Washing your beans properly may seem like a simple, common-sensical method that anyone would do, but without a thorough understanding of what you are really doing and how to do it right, you can easily do it wrong and get only little or no results.

Some individuals and groups have recommended dissolving the beans with salt or baking powder during the 3-5 minutes period above, but I have found that this method is not absolutely required. It is not a compulsory method and I am not quite sure how these work. But I can guarantee you that this simple method I shared here works with almost 99% effectiveness.

How To Prevent Bloating and Gas Caused By Eating Beans

Fibre and raffinose in beans are resistant to normal intestinal digestion. Bacteria in the intestine can digest them to produce gas and water. This gas is what causes the bloating and feeling of fullness.

Effects of stomach gas

Gas in the stomach can also displace or push out acidic stomach juice back into the oesophagus/throat causing what we term as gastroesophageal reflux; where there is a backflow of acidic stomach content from the stomach (gastric cavity) into the oesophagus. This gives you that feeling of heartburn or burning chest a few minutes after eating beans.

The other important cause is what I already talked about earlier in this post - the chemicals used in preserving beans are usually applied in amounts that can cause direct irritation to the stomach wall. This can directly cause the burning pain you experience after eating beans. It can also stimulate excess acid production by the stomach which will in turn directly act on the stomach wall, causing the burning pain you experience.

In people who are predisposed to developing stomach ulcers or who have active stomach ulcers, this pain can be even worse. So much that the nutritionists or doctorswould counsel them to avoid beans diet altogether due to the fact that those chemicals can trigger off existing stomach ulcers.

Preventing gas/flatulence

The digestion of these fibres can be enhanced by thorough cooking with good amount of water for an adequate time. At least, this will reduce the effects of gas on your stomach. However, this might not be able to fully prevent you from gassing or developing gas in your rectum (large intestine). This is what we may refer to as flatulence. In this case, you experience increased urge to fart.

The one major, if not the only disadvantage of this incessant urge to fart or gas apart from the feeling of discomfort to your abdomen, is that it can often cause you social embarrassments where you may have to hold your bowel gas because you are in a social gathering. At some points, fart can escape your anus or become unavoidable to you. This may cause you brief moments of shame but life moves on, doesn't it? 

Looking at the bright side, if farting is the only problem left after, not heartburns or others, consuming the multipurpose delicacy diet would be worth the mild discomfort of farting. Don't you agree? After all, we now know that beans is very nutritive, affordable and worth the charade.

Final words

I hope this helps prevent the burning sensation you may be experiencing after consuming beans. If after trying these procedures outlined here, you still experience heartburn/burning sensation in your stomach, please drop this complaint in a comment below.

Good things like this are supposed to be shared, right? Please, share this link with your friends using the share buttons below. You never can know how helpful you would be by doing that. Thank you.

Prosper Yole

I am a lifestyle blogger, I write useful articles on successful life tips and hacks. Posts bearing Prosper Yole as author are either written by the blog author himself or by our various other contributors. Thank you for reading through. I look forward to having you more often. Please subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter @ProsperYoleOfficial

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