It was mentioned in an earlier post about beans and lentils that the process of germinating the seeds improves their nutritional profile. The positive effects of sprouting are (1) certain “antinutrients” are reduced and (2) enzymatic activity involved in germination produces more particular types of nutrients such as vitamins.
Beans can still be enjoyed in their seed form. This is after all how most of them are typically cooked. Soaking legumes can still somewhat mitigate their inherent disadvantages. Although not as effective as fully sprouting the legumes, soaking still makes beans a bit easier on the digestion. Plus, the process is less tedious as it will only take a couple of hours rather than days.
Read on and discover the pros and cons of soaked legumes (and be sure to also check out recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice).
Soaked Legumes Benefits:
The body’s daily need for folate or Vitamin B9 may only be measured in micrograms, but this nutrient plays a crucial role. It supports the division of new cells, and is involved in the formation of DNA and RNA. This is why pregnant women are sometimes given folate supplements.
Fortunately this is one of the more abundant vitamins that can be found in beans. Lentils in fact have an exceptionally high amount with one cup (around 190 grams) of soaked and cooked lentils providing 89% of the daily requirement. Pinto and garbanzo beans meanwhile have approximately 70% daily value.
This vitamin, along with significant amounts of soluble dietary fiber, gives beans their heart-friendly quality. Folate as it turns out can regulate levels of homocysteine in the blood. This is an amino acid byproduct of a metabolic process and doctors have found that when there’s too much of it in the blood it can become one of several factors in heart attacks.
Magnesium is another fairly abundant nutrient in beans and lentils that makes them supportive of cardiovascular health. This mineral, when in proper balance with calcium, helps keep blood vessels relaxed and the heart beating regularly.
Soaked Legumes Risks:
One of the more dangerous substances naturally found in beans is lectin. This is a type of protein which tends to strongly bind with carbohydrates. It can be quite abundant in red or kidney beans. When the substance enters the gastrointestinal tract, it can hinder the built-in repair mechanisms of cells that line the intestines. The results can be nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and other digestive distress.
A noticeable amount of lectin remains when beans are undercooked. This is why it is so important to soak and properly boil beans before consumption as this can greatly reduce amounts of this dangerous substance.
Soaked Legumes Practical Uses:
Various types of beans require different soaking times so be sure to refer to the guide mentioned in the introduction of this post. After proper soaking, be sure to rinse the beans and drain or discard the soaking water. The idea is to get rid of the harmful and antinutrient substances that were dissolved during soaking.
There are several methods to cook beans. A stockpot or slow cooker is used for the typical boiled bean, soup or casserole recipes. Don’t add seasoning like vinegar until the beans are nearly done as this can toughen them up and extend the cooking time. With a slow cooker, the broth is likely to be thinner as this type of appliance allows little evaporation. For baked recipes, some people use a Dutch oven and they say that beans can be cooked more evenly this way.
Cooking time will also vary per type of beans. The average is between 1 ½ to 2 hours. The ratio commonly suggested is 10 cups water for every pound of beans. You’ll know the beans are done when you can squish them with a fork.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of raw seeds and nuts in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the grains and legumes on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• GMO Corn
• Soy Nuts
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of soaked legumes the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of soaked legumes.