Kidney Beans: The Good and The Bad
Kidney beans are high in fiber, folate, iron, and trace minerals such as manganese and copper. Consumption of beans has shown to have many health benefits ranging from reducing the risk of heart disease1 to combating diabetes2 and even helping prevent certain types of cancer.3 Though it is important to know Kidney beans must be cooked or fully sprouted and rinsed before eating them. Why? Raw kidney beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin that can cause liver damage. This is why, it’s always good to at least soak kidney beans overnight and discard the water they were soaked in. But it’s optimal to sprout your kidney beans before cooking.
Otherwise known as germinating beans allows the dried beans to absorb water, which begins to dissolve the complex sugars (oligosaccharides). These complex sugars cannot be absorbed by the intestines but are consumed by our gut flora instead. This is what causes the production of extra intestinal gas people experience when consuming beans. Most of these sugars are broken down during the sprouting process, thus making sprouted beans far more digestible.
This is not the only reason sprouted beans are better for our bodies. Sprouting beans activates the enzyme phytase,4 which decreases the amount of phytates or phytic acid found in kidney beans.5 These are considered to be “anti-nutrients” that block the absorption of many vitamins and minerals found in kidney beans.6 The best way of reducing phytates in beans is sprouting for several days, followed by cooking. An eighteen-hour fermentation of beans without a starter at 95 degrees F resulted in 50 percent phytate reduction.7 Lentils fermented for 96 hours at 108 degrees F resulted in 70-75 percent phytate destruction.8 Lentils soaked for 12 hours, germinated 3-4 days and then soured will likely completely eliminate phytates.
There are yet more “anti-nutrients” found in beans and other foods these are known as Lectins. Generally speaking, lectins are a type of glycan-binding protein, meaning proteins that bind to carbohydrates in your body. These can have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora — a common precursor to leaky gut.9 A couple other primary concerns with lectins is they are pro-inflammatory and immunotoxic or in other words, capable of stimulating a hyperimmune response. Sprouting dramatically reduces the lectin content of foods that contain it, making them far safer.10 This is one of the reasons why traditionally sprouted grain bread is easier on your digestion than conventional bread made with processed, unsprouted grains.
No Sweat Recipe Of the Week
African Lamb, Kidney Beans, and Greens
- 14 oz Kidney Beans, Sprouted
- 1 lb grass-fed Lamb Shanks (Osso Buco), can substitute Grass-fed beef shanks
- 1-2 cups grass-fed beef broth
- Turnip greens (or Spinach) and Cabbage
- ½ – 1 TBSP Berbere (Ethiopian spice mix)
- 2 TBSP Coconut oil (or Ghee, Avocado oil, etc.)
- Sea Salt and Black pepper to taste
- Sprout the Kidney Beans (whole process takes 5-7 days)
- Soak Kidney beans in water overnight (8-12 hours)
- Strain water, rinse the beans with new water, then soak beans again (12 hours)
- Repeat process until beans start to sprout
- Once the beans have sprouted, braise the lamb shanks
- Heat a Dutch oven (or similar deep pan) on medium heat
- Once pan has had time to heat up (5 mins) – Add TBSP of Coconut oil to Dutch oven or similar deep pan
- Sear the Lamb shanks
- Cover shanks ¾ of the way with beef broth (not completely covered) and add Berbere spice
- Turn heat down to maintain a simmer
- Simmer for 3-4 hours on low heat
- Once lamb shanks are done (tender)
- Remove meat from shanks
- Heat a large frypan to medium heat and add TBSP of coconut oil
- Sauté the Turnip Greens (or spinach) and Cabbage
- Once sautéed add sprouted kidney beans and lamb meat
- Lastly add Sea salt and Black pepper to taste