Healthy Eating

What are the benefits of using a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker is a valuable kitchen appliance.  The use of pressure cookers is increasing in Kenya. Pressure cookers work by trapping steam from boiling water. This creates high pressure and temperature in the vessel. Today we will consider the benefits of using a pressure cooker to cook beans

Saves time and energy

Beans take up to 3 hours of boiling to cook well. However, the use of a pressure cooker reduces this by more than half. This is because of the high pressure and temperature cooking conditions. Short cooking time results in saving energy and fuel. Therefore, pressure cookers are an economical method of cooking beans. Pre-soaking of the beans before pressure cooking further shortens the cooking time.

Removes anti-nutrients in beans

Beans are a rich source of proteins that are important in building muscles and for growth. However, they also contain many anti-nutritional factors. Trypsin inhibitors interfere with the activity of protein-digesting enzymes in the gut. Tannins on the other hand bind to proteins in the beans forming indigestible complexes. The presence of these anti-nutrients interferes with the digestion of proteins. As a result of this, you do not maximally absorb proteins from beans.

Normal boiling of beans removes some of these anti-nutrients to safe levels for consumption. However, research shows that pressure cooking drastically reduces these anti-nutrients compared to normal cooking. Pre-soaking of beans is important in eliminating some of these anti-nutrients.

Improves protein digestibility

Eating protein-rich food does not guarantee that your body gets all the proteins. Protein digestibility is the difference between the amount of protein consumed and the amount of protein excreted. The cooking of beans changes the structure of proteins through a process known as denaturation. Protein denaturation improves protein digestibility. Research, however, shows that pressure cooking improves protein digestibility more than normal boiling. Pre-soaking of beans prior to pressure cooking further improves protein digestibility.

In case of normal boiling Research shows that longer cooking time improves digestibility of the proteins. It is also important to know that in normally cooked beans, whether you soak the beans or not there is no difference as far as protein digestibility is concerned.

 Best way to pressure cook beans

What should you do to get maximum benefits from your pressure cooker? First pre-soak your bean before pressure cooking. This eliminates some of the anti-nutrients from the beans. Discard the soaking water and rinse the beans thoroughly. After this, pressure cook your beans.  Stew your beans with boiling water (bean broth). This is because the broth contains more minerals than the beans themselves.

Safety first! Remember to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines when using a pressure cooker.