Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Soaking and sprouting lentils is the best way to prepare these legumes if you have SIBO, IBS or other gut disorders. You should find that you are much less likely to suffer bloating, gas and other nasty side-effects if you prepare them in this way.
You can use this method for any beans or grains, you just need to adjust the soaking times.
You can actually eat lentils raw if they have been properly soaked and sprouted or you can cook the sprouted product. If you have SIBO, it's usually best to boil them first before eating.
Why soak and sprout?
Most importantly for people with gut issues, soaking and sprouting lentils and other legumes helps break down the carbohydrates (sugars) that are often the culprit in causing your symptoms.
Phytic acid is a naturally-occurring substance found in legumes and other plant foods that can stop you from absorbing important nutrients, particularly minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Soaking in an acidic medium (i.e lemon juice or vinegar) helps remove phytic acid.
Lectins are another naturally-occurring substance which can reduce absorption of nutrients, contribute to leaky gut, and slow your recovery. Lectins can be toxic but this is only really a problem if you eat raw beans or very large quantities of beans.
Kidney beans are particularly high in lectins and must never be eaten raw or undercooked. Tinned kidney beans are fine to eat straight from the can because they have already been properly prepared.
Soaking and cooking legumes will easily reduce lectin content.
The other great thing about this method of preparation is that the lentils become more nutritious than when you started out. Studies have shown that amino acids in legumes are actually higher in sprouted legumes than the original product. This is because sprouting activates enzymes that make these compounds more available. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and we use them everyday to make immune cells, muscles, hormones and other tissues in the body, and for general maintenance of the body.
Soaking and sprouting also reduces trypsin inhibitors. These substances reduce the activity of enzymes in the gut that break down proteins and allow us to digest them.
You also benefit from higher levels of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and calcium.
Here's how to prepare your lentils
DAY 1 – SOAK
1. Rinse lentils.
2. Place in a bowl or jar.
3. Add water so that all lentils are covered.
4. Cover with a porous cloth.
5. Soak for 12 hours.
DAY 2 – START SPROUTING
1. Drain and rinse lentils.
2. Put back in the jar.
3. Add cover.
4. Prop up at an angle so water stays drained off.
5. 3-4 Times per day, drain and rinse and return to tilted place.
DAY 3-4 – KEEP RINSING
1. Keep rinsing 3-4 times every day for between 2-4 days.
2. When sprouted part is the same width as the lentils, then they are ready to cook and eat.
as you would any beans or lentils. You can then store batches in the freezer or eat right away.