Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Gut - The Root of All Health (Part 4): PHYTIC ACID

Your grains, seeds and nuts have to be soaked in order for our bodies to get the best of it! To find out why, continue reading.

What Is Phytic Acid

Phytic acid (inositol hexakisphosphate - IP6) was first discovered by Palladin in 1895. (To read more on the history on phytin and physic acid, click on LINK.) It is a saturated cyclic acid which is the principal storage from of phosphorus in many plant tissues especially in bran, seeds, nuts and grains. This functions as the energy store for the plant.

How Is Phytic Acid Stored?

Phytic acid is mainly stored in the seeds of the plants. It can also be found in roots and tubers but in lower amounts. It is most concentrated in whole grains and beans. It is usually concentrated in the aleurone layer in majority of the grains which makes it concentrated in the bran. For legumes, it is found in the cotyledon layer of the seed.

When Is Phytic Acid A Problem?

Actually phytic acid has some good. But it poses problems for some people. Phytic acid tend to bind minerals in the gut before they are absorbed and also influence the digestive enzymes. It also reduces the digestibility of starches, proteins and fats. In long term, consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran can trigger the IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

People with sensitive digestion too will have problems when they consume food with large amounts of phytic acid.

People with problems of building up iron stores in their body and also have an iron-defiecency anemia will have problems when consuming phytic acid.

Who Benefits From Phytic Acid?

When physic acid binds minerals in the gut, apparently it prevents the formation of free radicals, this making it an antioxidant (taken from HERE). It also binds heavy metals, thus preventing them from accumulating in our body.

Phytic acid also reduces the chances of our arteries from hardening.

Phytic acid's iron-binding properties can protect against an iron overload (hemochromatosis) in our body.

*What Are The Methods of Reducing Phytic Acid?

1. Heat

Heating foods with phytic acid can reduce some amount.

2. Processing

Milling grains and removing the bran reduces the amount of physic acid. The bad part of milling is, it also removes much of the minerals.

3. Soaking

Soaking beans and grains can reduce phytic acid.

It is recommended to soak in either warm water or in an acidulated water (such as plain yoghurt, whey, kefir, buttermilk, vinegar or lemon juice).

It is best to soak overnight or more than 7 hours. The water that has been used to soak the beans and grains MUST be thrown away!

To read more about soaking your grains, click on LINK.

4. Fermentation

Fermentation breaks down phytic acid by activating the phytase enzymes which reduces the number of phosphate.

5. Sprouting

Sprouting enhances the phytase activity and thus decreases the phytic acid (this is used up as it sprouts).

*taken from HERE. There are some extra points on how to balance up and reduce phytic acid which are stated in the link. Do click it and read.

Also click on PHYTIC ACID to read more about it.