Legume of the month: Black-eyed peas

In Southern states, people often eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Day, a tradition believed to bring wealth and good fortune in the coming year. The classic recipe for this dish, called Hoppin' John, often includes some form of pork. But the Half-cup Habit website has a vegetarian version; see https://pulses.org/nap/recipe/hoppin-john.

It may be just luck, but black-eyed peas seem to be less likely than black beans or pinto beans to cause intestinal gas, according to a small study. All legumes contain fiber and substances known as oligosaccharides that can't be broken down by human digestive enzymes. But the billions of bacteria living in the gut can digest oligosaccharides, often creating gas in the process.

According to the study authors, most people ended up back at their baseline flatulence levels after a few weeks of eating any of these bean varieties. This digestive adaptation is yet another reason you should eat legumes on a regular basis. Aim for at least one-and-a-half cups a week, as suggested by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

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