Do grains have phytic acid (phytates) and should we care?
Generally speaking, grains have high levels of phytic acid, a substance that reduces our absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. As an example, compare the milligrams of phytic acid in grains to a random collection of other foods. (This is a small sample of phytate levels as listed in a review article by Harland and Oberleas in a 1987 article.)
Phytic acid in an assortment of grains
Barley infant cereal: 897 mg/100 grams
Mixed grain cereal: 510 mg/100 grams
Wheat bran muffin: 498 mg/100 grams
Oatmeal: 943 mg/100 grams
Wheat bran: 3,011 mg/100 grams
Wheaties: 1,467 mg/100 grams
Phytic acid in other foods
Avocado: 1 mg/100 grams
Broccoli: 18 mg/100 grams
Chocolate chip cookie: 148 mg/100 grams
Collard greens: 12 mg/100 grams
Grains do have phytic acid and that phytic acid can reduce our body’s ability to absorb the calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc in the grains. That is a shame since these foods can be great sources of minerals.
Kitchen preparation techniques can reduce phytic acid in grains, many of which are very easy to adapt if you are a cook. Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting are easily added to your kitchen routine. If you are interested in detailed information on phytic acid in your foods as well as easy kitchen techniques to reduce it, purchase the Phytic Acid White Paper.