Grains and Phytic Acid

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.