Grains and phytic acid: Soak, sprout, ferment?

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.

Read more

Soaking grains @ the Rebuild blog

Soaking beans @ the Rebuild blog

Nuts and phytic acid

Oats and phytic acid @ the Rebuild blog

Soy and phytic acid @ the Rebuild blog

More posts like this one:

  1. Cornflakes and phytic acid
  2. Soaking grains for nutrition?
  3. Soaking Grains For Better Mineral Absorption — Resources
2 Responses to Grains and phytic acid: Soak, sprout, ferment?
  1. Tim
    April 4, 2010 | 5:08 pm

    Phytic acid is also protective against bowel cancer which is why a diet high in unprocessed grains is recommended to prevent it.
    As with all things a balance is required. Unless you have evidence that you are deficient in calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, maybe you shouldn’t worry about the impaired absorption of these minerals present in the grains. There are plenty of other sources for these minerals than grain.

    • Lew
      September 14, 2010 | 10:36 am

      @Tim:

      >Phytic acid is also protective against bowel cancer which is why a diet high in unprocessed grains is recommended to prevent it.<

      I don't think that's right. Most of the protective effect is due to insoluble fiber, which has
      two actions:

      1. By bulking the stool it reduces bowel transit time. This results in less production of
      carcinogenic putrefactive substances such as skatole, and less exposure to those that
      are produced.

      2. Fermentation of insoluble fiber in the large bowel increases the amount of butyric acid
      and its salts (butyrates) relative to other simple organic acids such as lactic and propionic.
      Butyrates nourish the lining of the bowel, making it better able to resist chemo-insults.

      Wheat bran has been found to have greater protective effect against colorectal cancer
      than corn or oat bran. A study investigating this difference found that when wheat bran
      was denatured by removing both bran oil and phytate the protective effect was reduced
      to that of corn bran. Restoring the phytate did not restore the lost protective effect, but
      restoring the bran oil did. The authors concluded that wheat bran oil contained something
      that protected against cancer by mechanism(s) other than the two explained above.

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