Found mostly notably in beans, seeds, nuts and grains and it is known as an anti-nutrient because it binds to minerals in the digestive tract reducing the absorption of minerals, particularly calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. It’s not all negative as phytic acid is reported to prevent some chronic diseases acting as an antioxidant. Research has shown that phytic acid can cause more problems for vegans and vegetarians as a lot of food that contains phytic acid is eaten in these diets.
There are ways to reduce phytic acid in your food that don’t involve cutting out phytic acid containing food.
- Processing – removing the bran of the grain helps remove the phytic acid but it also removes most of the nutrients.
- Fermenting – this is why fermented sourdough bread is a great option if you eat bread.
- A diet high in Vitamin C can be helpful to counteract the phytic acid.
- Soaking and sprouting – one of the most effective ways to reduce phytic acid
Benefits of sprouting and soaking:
- Increases the growth of healthy enzymes
- Eradicates toxins and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria
- Makes proteins and nutrients more available to the body
- Aids the digestibility and reduces gas produced in the gut
How to soak and sprout:
This process works by activating phytase enzyme in the food, which then breaks down the phytic acid. This only works in food that has phytase enzyme.
- Rinse the grains.
- Place 2 parts warm water to 1 part grain, in a closed mason jar or bowl with a cover.
- Add 1 tbs lemon juice or 1 tbs apple cider vinegar per 1 cup water used.
- Soak for 8-24 hours at warm room temperature and then rinse and cook for required time (will be less due to soaking).
Oats do not enough phytase to work on the phytic acid, add 10% buckwheat to the oats while soaking
SOAKING NUTS AND SEEDS
It can seem a hassle to soak your nuts and seeds but it is easier than it seems. If you soak a handful of nuts the night before, then they are ready to eat for snacks the next day. I miss the dehydration step as this adds to the hassle so I just soak what I need for the next day.
- Rinse and drain the nuts/seeds
- 2 cups of warm water, 1 cup nuts/seeds, ½ tsp salt in a closed mason jar or bowl with a cover.
- Soak for the required time
- Drain and rinse thoroughly
- Eat that day or continue to step 6
- Roast at 110-130°F temperature in oven – in order to preserve the greatest amount of natural enzymes and fragile unsaturated fatty acids possible don’t heat nuts above 150°F. Seeds can be toasted to 250°F – but hemp, flax, chia, should never be heated due to omega 3 content.
|Nuts and Seeds||Soak time|
|Flaxseeds and chia seeds||30 minutes|
|Brazil nuts, Cashews||3 hours|
|Walnuts, Macadamia nuts, Sesame Seeds||4 hours|
|Pecan, Hazelnuts, Pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds,||6-8 hours|
BEANS AND PULSES
- Rinse the beans/pulses
- Using a mason jar – fill 1/3 of the jar with the legume and the rest with water.
- Soak for required time, you can cook from now or continue on to sprouting.
- Now to sprout
- Drain and rinse
- Leave upside down on an angle (best to buy sprouting mason jar lids – these have small holes to allow the water to drain and air to circulate)
- Add water to the jar and rinse 2-3 times a day, leaving the jar upside down at an angle after each rinse
- Repeat this process for 1-4days
- After they have sprouted you can cook them. I almost always add a small strip of kombu seaweed to legumes when I cook them. Sea vegetables are alkaline-forming, and help neutralize gas from the beans
Not only is soaking and sprouting dried legumes good for improving the digestibility and nourishment, but also canned beans have been known to be toxic due to the aluminum from the tins.
|Chickpeas||8-12 hours||2-4 days||1 ½ -2 hours|
|Lentils||8-12 hours||2-3 days||10-20 minutes|
|Black beans||8-12 hours||3 days||45-60 minutes|
Since dry beans must rehydrate, they will expand to about 2 ½ times their dried measure size.
(2016). Retrieved 7 March 2016, from https://sproutpeople.org/growing-sprouts/sprouting-instructions/
Price, W. (2010). Living With Phytic Acid – Weston A Price. Weston A Price. Retrieved 7 March 2016, from http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/
Sprouting 101 – YumUniverse™. (2012). YumUniverse. Retrieved 7 March 2016, from http://yumuniverse.com/sprouting-101/
Britton, S. My new roots.