Beans are served around the world as a food staple! Often beans will be paired with grains for many main dishes. They are used for both building and cleansing purposes in Ayurveda. Beans are low in fat and high in fiber. They also are a great protein source and are filled with iron, B vitamins, and other minerals. Digesting Beans and Legumes For some people beans can be hard to digest. If you are just starting to add beans into your diet more, it is smart to try them no more than once or twice a few for the first few weeks. The average person can usually tolerate legumes three to four times per week with acculturation, a balanced Agni (digestive fire), and with good preparation. If you didn’t grow up eating beans or legumes often, expecting to eat beans more than this in your week can cause bloating and gas. A key is to discover which beans are the best for you! It is also important to learn how to best prepare your beans and legumes to minimize their gas–producing qualities. A trick is to add in some asafoetida (also known as Hing) when you are cooking beans or legumes to help reduce this quality! Another tip is to always soak your beans and grains to get off unwanted build up and toxins off of them and to help prepare them to be easier to digest. Split Mung Beans Split mung beans are one of the most popular staples in India and are highly regarded in Ayurveda. They are lighter and easier to digest than most other beans and are widely known for their healing properties. They are great in restorative and cleansing Indian and Ayurvedic meals like kitchari and dahl. They tend to be slightly cooling in their effect on the body. Vata and Kapha people seeking to offset this can add ginger and other heating spices, such as black pepper, cumin, and mustard seeds. They are also great for Pitta people with coriander in it! In the US it can be semi-difficult to split mung beans or mung dahl, unless your have a health store or Indian market that sells them. It can also be sold as “yellow dahl.” Whole mung beans are more accessible to find, but can be harder to digest. It is suggested to soak the beans overnight rinsing frequently. Split red lentils are also great in kitchari and are also high in protein! Beans and Farming Beans are also great for farming. As a food crop, they nourish the soil rather than taking up all the nutrients. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in beans can pull in over a hundred pounds of nitrogen from the atmosphere per year per acre and give it as a usable form of nitrogen to the soil. Beans are a valuable alternative to synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. While the synthetic fertilizers often can have harsh side effects on the earth, beans are a natural and great source for this! Overall, beans are an amazing source of nutrients and protein! They are a great fuel source, especially for vegans and vegetarians! The best way to prepare is by soaking beans overnight or if they are canned beans (as we know people can be pressed for time), making sure to rinse them really well. When cooking them, add your spices like asafoetida, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, black pepper, or ginger to make them taste good and boost their digestive properties! What’s your favorite way to eat beans and/or legumes?
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