The Myth of Avoiding Beans While Breastfeeding
It has long been assumed that eating beans — and other “gassy foods” — isn’t a good thing for nursing mothers.
According to the Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, breastfeeding women need 200 calories more per day than they did when pregnant and beans are an excellent source. Additionally, they don’t pose any health threats to babies when a mother consumes them.
The truth is that the benefits of eating an ample amount of beans far outweighs any negatives. Our own Dr. Steven Pratt, in his book SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, asserts “beans are a virtual wonder food.”
Not only are beans an inexpensive and protein-rich SuperFood, they have the power to lower cholesterol, combat heart disease, stabilize blood sugar, reduce obesity, relieve constipation and lessen the risk of type II diabetes and cancer.
To put it simply, beans can help fuel your body to be healthy and sound. These benefits are extended to your nursing child, because a healthy mom means a healthy baby. If mom is getting good sources of low-fat protein, her milk is going to be fully fortified with protein. Eating regular legumes will help mom ensure that she is getting what she needs, and in turn so will baby.
How to Reduce the Gassy Effects of Beans on Your Body
- Use canned beans.
- Mash beans before eating.
- If you’d rather use non-cooked beans, soak them before cooking. Then, boil them for two to three minutes and then let them soak for a few hours. This will release the majority of indigestible carbohydrates in the beans.
- Pressure-cooking beans reduces their gas-producing qualities.
- Try using Beano, an enzyme that helps reduce gas associated with foods like beans.
The good news surrounding beans is that there are several varieties you can choose from, including pinto, black, adzuki, white, chickpeas, fava and navy. You may find that your body reacts better to one type of bean over another.
The secret to finding the right type of beans for your body is trial and error. Give them all a try at different times, and try varying preparation methods.
Also, pay attention to the quality and consistency of beans when you buy them. If you choose beans from a bin (rather than in a package), make sure they aren’t powdery. This indicates that they are old. The less powder, the better.