When looking for a healthy snack, you might reach for peanuts since nuts are an excellent source of protein and contain good fats. They’re also delicious and extraordinarily satiating but have you ever felt bloated after eating peanuts? Do peanuts cause gas?
Peanuts do sometimes cause gas, especially if you eat too many. This is because peanuts contain high amounts of fiber and anti-nutrients like phytates and tannins that are difficult to digest.
Continue reading to learn more about why peanuts cause gas, how to avoid this condition, and how to treat the discomfort.
Reasons Why Peanuts Cause Gas
Peanuts are packed with nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium. Including peanuts in your diet helps lower cholesterol, aids weight loss, and keeps your heart healthy.
However, they also contain some nutrients and anti-nutrients that can make you feel gassy. Check them out below:
Peanuts are an excellent source of fiber, but too much fiber can cause digestive issues.
We need fiber in our diet to keep our gut healthy. It isn’t absorbed or broken down and instead passes through the body without being digested. The role of fiber is to slow down the absorption of sugar and nutrients, which keeps you full for longer, maintains your sugar levels, and aids in a regular bowel movement.
However, too much fiber can have negative consequences. If the digestive process is significantly slowed down, it can cause issues like bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
Eating too many peanuts can mean that your body is getting more fiber than it needs since there are about two grams of fiber in a handful of peanuts. A handful usually amounts to about an ounce, and when aimlessly snacking, it is easy to eat more than a handful without noticing.
Phytates Cause Stomach Upsets
Another reason you might feel gassy after munching on too many peanuts is that they contain phytates. Phytates or phytic acid is found in peanuts. It contain phosphorus that the plant requires to grow.
Phytates are also often called anti-nutrients because they bind sugars and minerals in the gut, resulting in the body being unable to use all these nutrients that it needs to function.
This substance commonly binds minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. Humans are unable to digest phytates and it also slows down or stops digestive enzymes from breaking down and absorbing carbohydrates, fat, and protein, which causes gas and bloating.
Peanut Allergies and Intolerances Both Cause Gas
One of the most common food sensitivities people develop is an allergy or intolerance to peanuts. Peanut allergies tend to be severe and potentially life-threatening in extreme cases, while peanut intolerances generally result in mild symptoms.
Unfortunately, a common symptom of both peanut allergies and intolerances is stomach cramp or gas. If you experience a lot of gas after eating peanut butter and suspect you might be allergic, it is best to see a doctor.
How Do I Make Peanuts Easier to Digest?
If you have a sensitive gut or feel gassy after eating peanuts, you don’t have to remove them from your diet if you enjoy eating them.
To make peanuts easier to digest, you need to reduce the amount of phytates it contains by soaking or sprouting your peanuts. It requires some effort, but it’s well worth it.
Here are some tips on how to do so properly:
Soak Your Peanuts
If you’d like to try soaking your peanuts, you will have to give up the convenience of buying a ready-to-eat package and buy them raw. It’s easy but it will take some time before you can enjoy your snack. Check out the steps below:
- Toss one cup of raw peanuts in about half or one tablespoon of salt.
- Place the salted raw peanuts in a mason jar or a bowl with a lip and top with water so that the nuts are fully submerged.
- Leave the nuts to soak for a minimum of eight hours or overnight on the kitchen counter.
- You can pour the peanuts into a colander in the morning and give it a good rinse to remove all the salt.
- Pat the nuts dry with a kitchen towel and spread them evenly onto a greased baking tray.
- Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and pop your tray into the oven for the nuts to crisp. It should take about twelve hours.
Sprout Your Peanuts
Sprouting your peanuts is similar to soaking your peanuts, but there are more steps involved since you have to repeat some steps several times.
- Start with your raw peanuts but leave out the salt.
- Submerge your peanuts in water and leave them to soak overnight.
- Rinse the peanuts thoroughly until the water runs clear.
- Soak it again for a few hours and rinse thoroughly. You will need to repeat the process of soaking and rinsing a few times until the peanuts sprout.
- You will know that your peanuts have sprouted when you notice a little tail protruding from them. Once your peanuts have sprouted, you can dry them, and oven roast them as you would with soaked nuts or store them in a cheesecloth in the fridge.
Remember that sprouted peanuts don’t last very long, so don’t let your efforts go to waste! You will need to roast them within three to four days.
Let Your Digestive System Adapt to Peanuts
If you have neither the time nor the patience to soak or sprout peanuts but are unwilling to cut them out of your diet, you can try adapting your digestive system to eating peanuts.
This involves cutting peanuts out of your diet entirely and then gradually start eating them again in tiny quantities.
You can start with four or five peanuts once a week and increase it to ten to twelve peanuts the following week. In week three, you can eat maybe eighteen to twenty peanuts and by week four, eat fourteen to fifteen peanuts twice a week and so on until you can eat about a handful a week.
If you feel gassy or uncomfortable, reduce the number of peanuts you eat and build up slowly again.
Peanuts make a yummy snack and are commonly used as an ingredient in various dishes. Eating too many peanuts can cause gas because of the high fiber content and phytates that they contain.
If you enjoy eating peanuts and don’t want to cut them out of your diet, try soaking or sprouting them. Alternatively, cut them out of your diet and reintroduce them gradually so your digestive system can get used to them.