The bean cure

Well, maybe I shouldn’t quite proclaim it a cure yet, but I’m certainly hopeful.  Remember this old post about the connection between morning sickness and old bile?  I thought the comments at the time were pretty evenly divided, but when I looked today they seemed very encouraging overall.

The theory as I understand it is old bile causes the nausea.  Bile helps us digest, but it also absorbs toxins and eventually becomes rather toxic itself.  This is because bile is recycled, picking up more and more toxins with each cycle unless it is passed with soluble fiber.  Pregnancy hormones cause the body to produce even more bile, compounding the problem.  The proposed solution is to eat plenty of soluble fiber, which binds with the bile and causes it to be passed instead of recycled.  Specifically, the proposed solution is to eat legumes, by far the best source of soluble fiber.

Even a few bites of beans will help with a wave of nausea almost immediately, and the relief can (Karen Hurd says) last 1-4 hours.  They should be eaten as often as necessary, starting first thing in the morning.  As an added bonus, Karen says that a woman with morning sickness typically won’t experience – well, that unpleasant little side effect of beans because she has so much bile to aid in digestion.

Now I have to add a bit of my own experience.  We normally eat beans once or twice/week, but have eaten them far more over the last summer.  I remembered the possibility that they might help with morning sickness, so as soon as I learned I was pregnant I made a point of eating at least one serving each day.

Based on the theory, it seems that there could be both a cumulative effect and an immediate effect.  What I mean is, it probably helps that I’ve been eating more beans this year, but eating them now should help too.

I know it’s early, but I have always, with just one exception, vomited and felt very nauseated all day long by this point in a pregnancy.  It was the same with The Boy as with all the girls. The only exception was with Bethany, but my hormones were running low with her: even though my midwife confirmed my dates, I was 7 weeks along before I got a positive pregnancy test with Bethany.

This time is different so far.  Until 7 weeks, I had only the mildest hint of nausea.  Over the weekend, I forgot to eat beans daily and began feeling markedly more queasy.  I don’t think it’s psychosomatic (all in my head) because I didn’t put the facts together until  a reader mentioned it.

Yesterday I ate 2 servings of beans and felt much better – again, the nausea was present but retreated to the background.  Today, I have tried to stretch the last cup of beans by eating just a bite or two whenever queasiness threatens.  So far, so good!  I’m having typical first trimester sleepiness, but almost none of the sickness that I have always experienced.

Needless to say, there’s a fresh batch of beans simmering in the crockpot.

And – ugh – I’m off to refill my mug o’ beans.


  1. I’d be really curious to know if bean SPROUTS work just as well, since they’re do much healthier! Sprouting triples the protein content and breaks down phytic acid which tends to bind to minerals such as iron and keep your body from being able to absorb them, resulting in deficiencies. So maybe you could try sprouts out for us and let us know if they work just as well!
    Mung bean sprouts are an easy and quick favorite – just soak then in water for 24 hours, rinse morning and night and then leave the water off and eat till they are all gone (continue rinsing morning and night)! So yummy! They’re ready to eat when their soft and cracked open; they don’t have to have long tails.
    Would love to hear if sprouts work just as well for morning sickness!

  2. Hi, thanks for this post! You have a wonderful family!
    I searched online for morning sickness cures and came upon Marathonmom’s blog which linked to this site. I am eating some kidney beans right now as that is the only thing we had in the cupboard. Today is a particularly bad day and I am praying that this will help! It is my 4th pregnancy and I am 10 1/2 weeks. We are also a Christ centered home schooling family and look forward to reading some of your posts on that topic as well =)
    God Bless You.

  3. I’m so thankful for this post and I keep coming back to it. I was miserable with all day mostly nausea with my first two pregnancies. This one I’ve been eating beans like crazy. At this point in my last pregnancy, the nausea had started. So far I feel fine, and I’ll keep eating beans for the rest of this trimester if I have to.

  4. Oh my goodness!! I have never heard of the bean cure til just now. I have, since my fourth pregnancy, relied on heavy protein consumption, and therefore, sometimes inadvertently resorted to beans and reaped the benefits. This does make total sense. Funny thing. I ate lentils for breakfast this morning, and you know what? Feel pretty okay right now. I’m going right now to start of pot of pintos on the stove. Thank you so much for sharing this. BTW, I found the link to this post at Raising Olives. 😉

  5. I am pregnant now! I found out 2 days ago! My last post was just 19 days ago. So I am about 4 weeks along, counting since my period.
    So far, I feel great and I have started eating beans to prevent the horrible sickness. With my other 4 pregnancies, I started getting sick between 5-6 weeks along. I will try to give another up date in a couple weeks.

    • How exciting! Be sure to eat them even when you feel good. I found that when I was feeling better and thought I no longer needed them, the nausea crept up on me. Then it took a while to get better again.

  6. So encouraged by this possible cure!!! I can’t wait to try it out. I am not currently pregnant, but I have endured 4 miserable pregnancies so far and am looking forward to having more enjoyable pregnancies in the future. I will definitely come back and write an update when the time comes!

  7. I know this was posted a long time ago, but I want to THANK YOU!! for it! I”m not currently pregnant, but with 5 under 6.5 it seems likely it could happen again and when/if it does, I’ll be trying this! I get terribly sick during the 1st trimester, so anything that even might help I’d be willing to try!

  8. K.Boots says:

    I am 9 weeks pregnant and have been very sick. I found your site through a comment on someone’s blog. As soon as I read this I looked through my cupboards and the only beans I had were a can of refried beans. So I figured I would try it. So far I have not thrown up today. Going to go to the store to stock up on some more beans. Hope it works as well for me. I am so sick of throwing up. It should also help the pregnancy constipation too!

  9. I went to lunch, ordered rice and beans, and finally felt better for the first time in weeks! I’m 7 weeks, and have been sick around the clock for the past 2 weeks. I thought the relief was strange, so I actually googled morning sickness and rice beans together and came across this article. I think it really does work :o) I’ll eat beans 3 times a day, 7 days a week, as long as I stop feeling so awful!

  10. I gotta know what kind of beans you are eating! 🙂 I need help!

    • blessedmomto8,
      I eat pintos because that’s what we like and use around here, but if your problem is bile then you should get relief from any kind of beans. Don’t give up too quickly – I noticed that I felt better and better as I ate them more, and I had to nibble at them throughout the day. I also noticed that I had little to no gas from them, a good sign that my body needed them and had plenty (too much!) bile, which is what you need to digest them.

  11. Wow!! Interstingly, refried bean burritos are my pregnancy food of choice. Maybe its God’s way of providing a craving that actually helps in early pregnancy. I’m 10 weeks pregnant with our 7th and I eat at least one bean burrito (in a flour tortilla with shredded cheese) every day. We travelled by RV from California to Arkansas and I forgot to pack my cans of refried beans for the trip. Boy, did I feel the difference and now I know why. Its the first thing I bought at Walmart when I got here!! 🙂

  12. I hate to throw a wrench in this theory but I am 21 weeks pregnant and had endured nausea for the first 14 weeks of the pregnancy. I have little to no bile in my stomach because I had gastric bypass surgery in the past. This is the first pregnancy after the bypass. I only had nausea with one other pregnancy and both of the babies are girls. My midwife really believes nausea originates in your brain and a hormone connection. Once the placenta kicks in people generally have less nausea. Using the anti nausea bracelets really helped.

  13. Also, bile is linked to our comsumption of fat. The more fat in your diet, the more bile that is necessary to help make the fat soluble for digestions. This is why a high fat diet can lead to gall bladder problems. So, if your bile theory is correct, which I haven’t heard until now, then a lower fat diet will help you feel better.

  14. Serving Kansas says:

    Yes! My mentor just found this info during her daughters last pregnancy this past year! It truly helps wonders! What else could we expect from a God who cares so much…He hid the answer in a food he created! BEANS< BEANS<BEANS!

  15. I was sick for months during my first pregnancy and, although I didn’t know that beans were helpful, I ate bean burritos constantly. They both sounded good and made me feel better for a short while. I just thought that it was my “thing” for that pregnancy. I wish I had known the stats on beans so htat I would have done the same for subsequent pregnancies. They just didn’t sound good for those.

  16. This is so curious. My past two pregnancies (the last being a set of twins) were very mild morning/all day/night sickness. Interestingly, my daughters LOVE beans. (So much so that my oldest thought it would be a perfect wedding reception meal for my sister’s wedding last Oct.! LOL! Welcome to OK. Have a bowl of beans and some cornbread!!) Anyway, we ate them every day for lunch. There were some days I had a hard time finishing a whole bowl, but could get a few bites down. It usually helped me get something else down.

  17. So glad you found something that is working for you.

  18. Very interesting. I’ll have to remember this.

  19. Gap Girl,
    My understanding is that you can add anything you like. It doesn’t even matter if they’re canned or otherwise processed. At this point, just a bit of salt does it for me, but I’ll add some variety when I feel the need.

  20. I’ve never had morning sickness with my first three and now with my fourth I have it. Dr. recommended 200 mg of vitamin B6 every day, and that’s taken everything away…I wonder what foods have B6 that I was eating with my other pregnancies but not with this one…beans?

  21. Make sure that you are soaking your beans before you cook them. The soaking starts the digestive processes off and and releases phytates that can harm the body over time. It’s easy to soak them as well. I soak mine for 24 hours with a tablespoon or 2 of whey or lemon juice. I have a pot of bean in my crock right now. We were supposed to have them yesterday but I had a severe bleeding episode and got put on bedrest until at least tomorrow. A family brought us dinner last night and another family tonight. I guess I will have to help myself to the beans for a snack. Sometimes I have a hard time looking outside the box when it comes to snacks. I am sending my 8 yod downstairs right now.

    I am glad someone brought up the no-poo. When I got pregnant my hair completely changed. It just wouldn’t get clean like it was. I had to give up completely.

    I would appreciate prayer if you think about it. The bleeding stopped but I had to cold turkey wean my 11 mod to a bottle. I am not handling it well at all. She’s doing better than she was yesterday.

    I am off to eat beans. Yummy black beans!!

  22. If it’s a bile thing, I wonder if not having a gall bladder would make things better or worse? Hmmm. Have to noodle that one for a while.

    I’ve always eaten a lot of beans. I think I commented on it the last time you posted about this topic. I’ve never had anything more than mild nausea with my 3. Just lucky, maybe, but I think beans may have something to do with it. Hope this continues to work for you!

  23. Thanks,
    I’ve cited this in my blog for pregnant women. It will post tomorrow and hopefully help some others.

  24. Ya!! Im glad you found a “cure!” I will have my crock pot pumping for sure now… so when my turn comes, I can eat away!! Any good recipes to go along with all those beans your eating?? Can you add stuff to it or does it have to be straight up beans? Please share.

  25. LOL…I am 29 weeks tomorrow and I have been craving beans (I use all kinds) like crazy! My family does not complain and here is why. I add some taco spices and brown rice to the bean mixture. Then I serve it with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cheddar cheese, salsa, and sour cream. It is kind of like taco’s but we use beans instead.
    It is really healthy as well.

  26. Risha,
    You’re absolutely right. Thanks for catching that – I’ve corrected it now in the post.

    I’m eating mostly pintos because they soften easily even in our very hard water, but I just started a batch of black beans because that’s what I have on hand.
    I like garbanzos too, so I might pick up a few cans of several different types to keep a variety on hand. I want to make this easy to keep up in the hope that it really is as helpful as it seems now.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so rotten. I’ve been there for much of my life! If you haven’t tried it yet, do consider just closing your eyes and shoveling in a few bites when you can manage. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it really helped?

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to post a no-shampoo update. Glad it’s going well for you, too.

  27. If that’s what it is, it’s such a simple “cure”. If we ever manage to get pregnant (we’d appreciate any prayers), I plan to eat beans non-stop! 🙂 Mmmm, beans. Love ’em.

    BTW, I’ve been ‘poo free now for around 5 months (I think, I’d have to check my blog to make certain) and I absolutely love it. I’m so glad you tried it, because your accounting of it gave me the courage to try it. 🙂

  28. What kind of beans do you eat (just being nosy)? I love pintos… 🙂

  29. I don’t know that I like you right now.

    Misery loves company, you know! I’ve been so miserable! And beans? The very thought makes me ill. As does citrus, apple, broccoli…. blah.

  30. I don’t want to be picky, but it’s soluble fiber that’s found in beans and what is helping you out here. In fact, insoluble fiber might actually make it worse because it spends up the process of elimination, and I’m guessing the goal here is to slow it down to give more time for the bile to be absorbed. Also, this is a great way to lower your cholesterol! For those that fear getting tired of beans, there is a good deal of soluble fiber in oats, barley, broccoli, prunes, apples and citrus fruits, but you’re right– beans have the highest amount. Glad you are feeling better!

  31. Audrey Henderson says:

    I’m so excited that you posted this! I just found out Sunday that I’m pregnant; I think I’m 6 weeks. I just began to feel a little blah. I was so sick with my last two, so I look forward to trying this. Hope it helps! [I always lose about 20 pounds my first trimester b/c I get so sick.]


  1. […] well past the general nausea now and am able to able to eat more than just beans.  I feel good as long as I watch my blood sugar and don't let it drop too low.  I don't monitor […]

  2. […] pity anybody who invites me to a party.  At least I won't be throwing up on their floor.  Yes, the beans are still helping.  I spend all my time nauseated, but rarely cross that line to actual vomiting.  I'm thankful but […]

  3. […] blogged recently about the bean cure for morning sickness and I have to admit it really seems to be working for me.  At nearly 9 weeks, I have only thrown […]

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