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Old 10-07-2016, 10:21 PM
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Adding a bit of baking soda to bean-based dishes reduces the volume of the resulting flatus in addition to improving the nutritional quality. Here is why:

Beans contain a relatively high concentration of phytate, which, although rich in phosphorus, is not very bioavailable to the human digestive system. It is in fact an antinutrient to us, but many gut flora can metabolize it without difficulty, releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Phytate is an acid, so exposure to a base will cause a reaction. In the specific case of baking soda - sodium bicarbonate - and phytic acid, you end up with water, carbon dioxide (released into the atmosphere now rather than after it's inside you, which is more polite), and various sodium phosphates, salts which humans can use without any gaseous byproducts.

There are other things in beans that contribute to flatus, so baking soda alone won't help you. Rinse or drain the beans so that the indigestible (for humans, but not for bacteria) sugars will be dissolved in it and then excluded from the meal, also.
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