Beans are a very good source of protein, fibre, starch, Vitamins and minerals (iron, potassium, magnesium, Zinc etc). But we still do not get all beneficial nutrients from eating them and end up being mineral deficient; just because we do not follow proper cooking techniques.
All beans (in fact all grains) has phytic acid in their outer covering. This phytic acid reacts with proteins and minerals especially Zinc and stops their absorption in our intestine. This makes beans difficult to digest.
Amount of phytic acid can be reduced by soaking, cooking, germinating or fermenting beans. Soaking has many benefits:
• Soaking softens beans, reducing their cooking time considerably.
• Soaking increases vitamin (especially Vitamin B) content of beans.
• Helps in increased absorption of minerals by reducing phytic acid (cooking them further reduces phytic acid).
• Soaking breaks down complex sugars and improves beans digestion.
• Soaking increases absorption of proteins by breaking them down in to simpler proteins.
• Removes dirt and pesticide residues from beans.
Beans can be soaked in water (cold) overnight (for 7-8 hrs.) before cooking. Soaking in hot water hastens water absorption and 3-4 hrs. of soaking is also sufficient in this case.
Get ready to enjoy a healthier absorption of beans next time by soaking and cooking them properly.
Image taken from Internet.