I Fight Phytic Acid!

Are you deficient in any minerals? Has your doctor mentioned anything about cutting out phytic acid?? Probably not! If you eat a diet, high in grain (breads, hot and cold cereals, baked goods), legumes, beans, nuts, and spreads and butters made from them, and plant oils….it could definitely be the cause of the problem. Same for cavities that you or your children might be “prone to”.

Before your doctor prescribes you potent supplements, IV treatments, or a battery of invasive tests to check if you’re bleeding internally anywhere (iron deficiencies)…before your dentist wants to fill a small cavity, or put your youngsters under general anesthesia for “baby root canals” – STOP!!!! Tell them you want to modify you (or your children’s) diet FIRST! It should literally only take a couple of weeks to see drastic improvement. For cavities, it is possible to cure/reverse tiny amounts of decay by following the Weston A. Price “Traditional Diet”, but you can also halt any further decay by the same means. 

Phytic acid (or phytates: in salt form) is how most plants store phosphorus for later use. When a seed or nut germinates, it releases soakedan enzyme called phytase to break down the phytates into usable energy/food. Non-ruminant animals (importantly: humans and pets) can’t digest or process phytic acid, which would simply lead to digestive upset, but it’s more than that. Phytic acid is also an anti-nutrient – it likes to bind itself to minerals…it gets those minerals from the food we’re eating, and if not enough minerals are present….it will leach them from our body. That might not seem like a big deal…tiny little nothings….how much can they steal?! A lot! Taking into consideration that they’re in every grain source – breads, and all baked goods, hot and cold cereals, rice, potatoes, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, nut butters, humus, seed and nut oils, corn, and even vegetables. We’re ingesting tons of the stuff, and robbing us of iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, and the rest of our vital minerals………all excreted as waste.

Over time, this can lead to bone loss/osteoporosis, and tooth decay! It lowers your body’s metabolism, and makes it harder to digest fats, starches, and proteins….which can lead to weight gain, digestive disorders, and food intolerances/allergies. Phytic acid can also cause anemia….and a combination of these problems, lead to bigger problems.

Ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, goats, and buffalo – produce their own phytase enzymes, that break down phytic acid in their fermenting stomachs. Our guts are capable of degrading 37-66% of the phytic acid we consume, and with some simple steps we can make up for the rest.

WHAT DEGRADES PHYTIC ACID?

  • Heat destroys only a small amount of phytic acid.
  • Processing (milling and sifting) removes the heaviest traces of phytic acid, bcuz it removes the bran, which unfortunately removes many of the minerals present in grain.
  • Soaking beans, nuts, and grains is simple and trusted method for removing phytic acid, and other anti-nutrients (oxalates, tannins, trypsin inhibitors, enzyme inhibitors, lectins, protease inhibitors, and GLUTEN).
  • Fermenting (natural yeast leavening) reduces a good amount of phytic acid, bcuz the process produces PHYTASE enzymes
  • Sprouting also causes the grains/seeds to produces their own phytase, and release phytic acid.
  • Just 80 mg of vitamin C taken with a meal can counteract 25 mg of phytic acid.
  • Animal protein enhances the absorption of zinc, iron, and copper. Adding small amounts to your cooked beans, greens, and grains can increase the absorption of these minerals from the whole meal, helping offset phytic acid.
  • Your gut plays an important role as well. If your digestive system has a low pH, it’s easier for it to absorb iron. Balancing your gut flora helps keep the pH low. So, eating lots of probiotics in the form of lacto-fermented foods – daily!!

To reduce phytic acid in foods…

  • Soak, spout, ferment and cook plant foods
  • Consume vitamin C-rich foods with all meals that contain phytic acid (guava, bell pepper, kiwi, citrus, strawberries, brussel sprouts, dandelion greens, kale, sorrel, papaya, cantaloupe, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pineapple, cauliflower, parsley).
  • Use raw cider vinegar to enhance mineral absorption, and reduce phytic acid. Can be added to the soaking process.
  • Supplement with a phytase enzyme if necessary
  • Eat mineral rich foods (organic produce, sea vegetables, unrefined sea salt, small cold water fish like herring, and cod liver oil)

soakCULTURING GRAINS (SEEDS, NUTS, BEANS & LEGUMES)

The oldest and best method (by far), for processing grains is “culturing”. As far as you can research back, every culture on earth cultured their grains. Did they know it improved nutrient absorption, and made the grains easier to digest? Did grains simply sour on their own, due to storage methods…and people developed taste for it? I like to think, they way we’re looking back tens of thousands of years, and adopting our ancestors wisdom….they were also looking back tens of thousands of years, and adopting their ancestors wisdom. Perhaps the process of culturing is older than the “human” race? But, that’s just an interesting thought. The point is…grains should not be consumed without culturing, unless you care nothing for your health!

PAIN IN THE BUTT?

If you live off fast food, and microwave meals – this is going to sound absurd! For those that only prepare home-cooked meals, it’s just a little more planning ahead than usual. The benefits are worth the effort.

SOAKING, SPROUTING & FERMENTING

I don’t know why some people consider this three separate steps? It can all be accomplished in one go. You can soak pretty much anything. I don’t soak grain flours, but I do ferment them as sourdough starter (different quest). If you want to cut down the most on phytic acid, use organic, white, unbleached flour (as the germ and bran that hold the most phytic acid are processed out). Soak beans, legumes, whole grains, rolled grains, rice, seeds, and nuts in dechlorinated, acidified water for 24 hours. Add a few tablespoons of raw, cider vinegar or lemon juice to your water. Grains, seeds, etc. contain their own molds and yeasts, as well as phytase…so they will ferment quickly on their own, if given the chance. How hard is that? Not very.

Note: In winter months, if your home is cold inside, fermentation takes much longer. You can speed things along by placing your soaking mixture in the oven, with door closed and oven light “on”.

wheatberriesMy Method

I use ozonated water, and about 1 cup of kombucha, water or milk kefir to kickstart the fermentation process. I soak everything for 3 days. The only exception is beans – where I chance the soaking liquid after the first 24 hrs. Add fresh water, and more kickstarter, and leave for the remaining 2 days. I don’t rinse it till the very end…using a colander or mesh sieve….I run the batch under cold tap water for a bit, while sloshing around the medium, and finish with a rinse of ozonated water.

Once a week, I prep dry goods, and bake a big loaf of sourdough. I keep my starter on the counter (feeding it daily), bcuz I use it up fast enough, to not have to refridgerate it. I use it for James’ pancakes, and for a batch of flatbread I make once a week also, so…actually I’m making bread twice a week, but I only soak on the last baking day of the week. Make sense? I soak a few different types of nuts and grains, so I have them handy for whatever I’m making. The example below is for 1 and half persons. 😛

Example

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts – any nuts (and I soak them altogether in one container)
  • 2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 cups lentils
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups buckwheat
  • 2 cups beans (whatever variety or a mix) only once a week

This gives me more than enough flexibility. It also pushes me to incorporate them more into recipes. Usually I make up my own, based on what I have on hand. A lot of this gets tossed into smoothies (especially nuts and buckwheat)(a spoonful here and there). The rice gets cooked up all at once, as do the beans. I usually employee the pressure cooker for beans, and toss in some soup bones, for a thick, rich, bone-broth, bean soup. The rest gets transferred to containers and put in the fridge (if I’m not cooking it immediately). Don’t leave it out on the counter! Whatever is left over come the next baking/soaking day…..I incorporate into my sourdough bread – usually some buckwheat, and sunflower seeds. By the time everything has soaked 3 days, it’s time to bake, cook, and start new batches.

Yes, sometimes I get side-tracked, or lazy….and forget to feed my starter, and it gets too sour (goes bad)(toss it), and I just don’t feel like soaking, and the whole system falls apart and I have to start again. I don’t beat myself up. There are days when I just cook rice right out of the bag, or toss some unsoaked nuts into a smoothie. The point is, I know better, and most of the time I do better. Most of the time!

Note: In addition to lemon juice, cider vinegar, kombucha or kefir, you can add roughly 1 tablespoon of rye or buckwheat (flour, cracked, or rolled) to your mix – for every cup of grain. These are both high in phytase. This is good practice when culturing oats, bcuz they’re extremely high in anti-nutrients, and extremely low in phytase! You can also make, what I call “Culture Water” as follows…

Soak grains/beans/seeds/nuts in dechlorinated water for 24 hours at room temp. Drain off soaking liquid into container. Save 10% of this liquid in a jar in fridge. Cook the rice in fresh water. The next time you soak – add the jar of soaking liquid to the fresh soaking water. Soak 24 hours, and repeat the process (pour off, save 10%). Cook in fresh water. Continue using this 10% soaking starter* which will build in strength until 96% or more of the phytic acid is reduced during a 24 hr period.

EXAMPLE OF QUINOA PHYTATE REDUCTIONS

Cooked for 25 minutes at 212 F = 15-20% reduced

Soaked 12-14 hrs at 68 F, then cooked = 60-77% reduced

Fermented w/ a starter* 16-18 hrs, then cooked = 82-88% reduction

Soaked 12-14 hrs, germinated 30 hrs, lacto-fermented 16-18 hrs, then cooked = 97-98% reduction!

You can use the same above guide for cooking beans, and other grains. This wouldn’t work for lentils – that cook extremely quickly. If you’re looking to get the ‘crunch’ back into your grains or nuts, say for great granola (again – different quest), simply spread on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper (a little layer of oil doesn’t hurt!) and bake at the lowest setting till dry, or use your handy dehydrator.

WHOLE GRAINS

Common Name Phytic Acid as % of dry weight In milligrams/100 grams (dw)
Corn 0.72-2.22 367
Corn Germ 6.39
Wheat 0.39-1.35 white flour 258
Wheat Germ 1.14-3.91
Wheat Bran 2.1-7.3
Rice (white) 0.06-1.08 11.5-66
Rice Bran 2.56-8.7 brown rice 12509!
Barley 0.38-1.16
Sorghum 0.57-3.35
Oats 0.42-1.16 1174
Rye 0.54-1.46
Millet 0.18-1.67
Triticale 0.50-1.89
Wild Rice 2.20

NUTS

Common Name Phytic Acid as % of dry weight In milligrams/100 grams (dw)
Peanuts 0.17-4.47 821-952 (sprouted 610)
Almonds 0.35-9.42 1138-1400
Walnuts 0.20-6.69 982
Cashews 0.19-4.98
Brazil Nuts 0.29-6.34 1719
Pistachios 0.29-2.83
Hazelnuts 0.23-0.92 648-1000
Macadamia Nuts 0.15-2.62
Pecans 0.18-4.52
Pine Nuts 0.20
Coconut 1.17 357
Cocoa 1684-1796

BEANS & TUBERS

Common Name Phytic Acid as % of dry weight In milligrams/100 grams (dw)
Pintos 2.38-2.38
chickpeas 0.28-1.26
lentils 0.44-0.50 779
White Potatoes & Yams 0.111-0.269
Sweet Potatoes 0 (zero)
Taro 0.143-0.195
Cassava 0.114-0.152

SEEDS

Common Names Phytic Acid as % of dry weight In milligrams/100 grams (dw)
Soybeans 1.0-2.22
Soy Concentrate (Sauce or Powder) 10.7
Tofu 0.1-2.9
Linseed 2.15-3.69
Sesame Seeds 1.44-5.36
Rapeseed 2.50
Rapeseed Protein Concentrate 5.3-7.5
Sunflower meal 3.9-4.3

Thoughts from Mama,

I don’t know anything about phytic acid that I haven’t “heard” from someone else (who’s heard about it from someone else). The best practice to use when it comes to your health, and what you should be putting into your body is Muscle Testing. It doesn’t employee any standard “knowledge” about things. Muscle Testing allows you to communicate with your body’s own intelligence system directly, and ask it what it needs, and what it doesn’t. You body isn’t going to lie or manipulate you. You can start here with the Basic Energy Work Quest, but there’s tons of information online. The difference with this sort of information is…it’s an “exercise”, the “results” of which, are your own.

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