Abdominal discomfort after eating cowpeas is known to be a major constraint on their greater consumption. Problems associated with cowpea consumption were identified by questionnaire in 448 randomly selected families. Some (28%) of the respondents had never experienced flatulence. Those who did said it occurred when cowpeas were eaten at all (16.7%), as dinner (42%) or without other foods (15%). A subsample of 40 people who complained of serious abdominal discomfort were fed cowpeas cooked by eight different methods at three consecutive dinners for each method. The problems reported were indigestion, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased belching, bad breath, offensive stool, flatulence, constipation, mild abdominal discomfort and sleepiness. Many respondents complained of mild abdominal discomfort with undehulled cowpeas (72.5%) and dehulled cowpeas (42.5%) that had been cooked at atmospheric pressure. Only 12.5% of the respondents complained of discomfort with dehulled cowpeas cooked under extra pressure. Thus, dehulling resulted in substantial reduction in the frequency and incidence of reported discomforts but pressure cooking also had beneficial effects, probably because of the higher cooking temperature attained.
Appetite 01/1990; 13(3):171-81. DOI:10.1016/0195-6663(89)90010-X