Monday, January 26, 2009

The Dangers of Kidney Beans

The real truth about dried kidney beans (found on offthecontrary blog spot)
I guess it's a good thing i HATE kidney beans.

"I made a humongous pot of chili tonight for supper. Chili is great for making a lot and then freezing it for later, so I like the aspect of cooking once and eating several times. Mmmmmm, laziness.

One of the ingredients in my chili is kidney beans. They are a tasty and healthy food, containing nutrients like iron, thiamin (Vitamin B1), folate, molybdenum, manganese, and fibre. But there's something else inside these innocent-looking legumes. Something downright sinister that could make you very sick.

Phytohemagglutinin is a compound found in many raw beans but is especially high in uncooked red kidney beans. This chemical can make you ill if ingested in high quantities, causing nausea and severe vomiting before inducing a wave of diarrhea. Yummy.

So how many raw kidney beans does it take to make you sick? The answer: 3. Just a few beans can trigger the above mentioned intestinal roller coaster ride.

You may ask "Why haven't I heard of this?" or "Why didn't I get sick from eating kidney beans at a salad bar yesterday?" It's all about cooking the poison away. By boiling kidney beans, even for 5 or 10 minutes, you reduce the amount of phytohemagglutinin 200-fold and bring it down to a safe level. We always eat cooked beans, so we never worry about the toxicity.

Canned beans are great because they are already cooked. No fuss, no muss, no vomiting. Dried beans need to be soaked for a while and then cooked for about 2 hours, but the important thing is to boil them at some point. If you simmer the beans for the entire cooking process without boiling them, they will still contain a high level of the toxin and you'll start feeling their effect 3 hours after eating them.

A friend of mine made her own chili a while ago, but bought dried kidney beans and didn't cook them first. She just added them directly to her simmering pot. When she tasted her chili she realized her mistake, but by that time she had already eaten 4 of the hard beans. The next 12 hours for her were not very pleasant.

So the next time you buy dried beans, especially kidney beans, make sure to cook them properly or else you'll face the painful consequences. "


streamofconchi said...

Thanks for the warning. Never knew that about kidney beans. Great blog. I'm enjoying your presentation and all the recipes.

Imogen said...

UK television company, Ricochet, are looking to chat to people who have experienced food poisoning from eating raw or undercooked kidney beans. If you think your friend mentioned above might be able to help please get in touch with Imogen at in confidence. Thank You!

Pat said...

Great read but one day too late. I soaked red kidney beans than added to a salad without cooking first ............we all felt like vomiting and we also got the runs !!!! Thanks for the information as I thought it could have been the chicken :)