The Power of Minerals and the Role of Phytic Acid
So if you read my last blog post, you would know the importance of eating alkaline foods that are high in minerals if you want to get relief from painful joints and other inflammatory conditions.
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Typical alkalising foods include all your dark, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds which are all high in anti-inflammatory minerals. But there is some confusion around a specific nutrient called Phytic Acid, which is often found in nuts and seeds.
The confusion is whether or not phytic acid actually REDUCES the amount of minerals you would expect to find in these healthy foods.
Let's take a closer look.....
Phytic acid is naturally present in most nuts, seeds, grains and legumes; it is the plant's storage form of the mineral phosphorus and is used as energy when the plant starts to grow.
The highest levels of phytic acid are found in rice bran, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, and walnuts.
Phytic acid binds to the minerals iron, zinc, and calcium preventing them from being fully absorbed when eaten; this is why phytic acid is often called a "mineral reducer."
BUT HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS!
Phytic acid's effects only apply to mineral-containing foods in the current meal. Once digested, there is no mineral reduction on any future meals and there is no impact to the minerals your body has already absorbed.
So you see, Phytic Acid isn’t all bad - in fact it has some amazing health benefits too.
It can act as an antioxidant, which means it can help to reduce damage to our cells caused by stray toxins roaming around in our bloodstream. It can also help reduce your risk of kidney stones, heart disease, and even some cancers.
PLUS, because it loves minerals (which are metals), Phytic Acid in your gut can also bind to any heavy metals (the metals we don't want too much of) that may have hitched a ride with your food. This is GREAT NEWS because our modern day world means we are often bombarded with too many heavy metals in our food and from environmental pollutants. So Phytic Acid acts like a "detoxifier" helping to rid our body of excess heavy metals!
So perhaps now you can see that Phytic Acid shouldn't be a huge concern, unless your main foods at most meals are nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Because many of these are nutritious foods however, you probably don't want to cut all of them completely out of your diet.
Considering both the good and bad properties of Phytic Acid, you may still however want to reduce how much you consume.
Here are two popular methods to naturally reduce Phytic Acid:
[if !supportLists]● [endif]Soaking - Place nuts, seeds, grains or legumes in a bowl, cover with water and leave overnight. Then drain the water and rinse before eating or preparing.
[if !supportLists]● [endif]Sprouting - After soaking, draining, and rinsing, place damp nuts, seeds, grains or legumes into a container that's exposed to the air (like a mason jar with a mesh lid). Every 8 hours or so, re-rinse them and drain the water. Continue doing this for a few days until you see sprouts peeking out.
Why do soaking and sprouting help reduce Phytic Acid in certain foods? Because when nuts and seeds are wet, this indicates it is time to leave their dormant (dry) state and start a new life by activating live enzymes. These enzymes then naturally de-activate Phytic Acid and use the energy and stored minerals for the plant as it begins to grow.
Now in addition to making sure you are not eating nuts, seeds and legumes in every meal and by incorporating the practices of soaking and sprouting to minimise the negative impact of Phytic Acid, it would also make sense to increase your mineral intake through other means as well. Primarily by ensuring you are including dark, green leafy foods and other mineral-rich ingredients in your meals as often as possible.
A great practice I use EVERY DAY is to incorporate a green, mineral-rich smoothie into my breakfast routine. And sometimes I will have a green smoothie for a snack, or a quick portable lunch if I am running out of the house. Not only does this guarantee I get an abundance of minerals every day which helps to keep inflammation down but it also helps to naturally boost my energy and support my weight; especially when balanced properly with other nutrients which help to keep my blood-sugar levels stable.
If you would like more help developing a plan that is personalised for you to help you reach your health and weight loss goals, CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE STRATEGY SESSION TODAY.
Phytic acid has a bad rap as a mineral reducer. It's found in nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.
Yes, it most definitely prevents absorption of critical minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium, if they're in your gut at the same time. Phytic acid in food can become a health concern if you are deficient in these minerals, or if your diet is largely based on nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.
But, if you eat a varied diet and focus on getting minerals into your body at every opportunity, then Phytic Acid shouldn’t be too much of a concern. In fact, Phytic Acid does have some health benefits.
And remember, if you want to reduce it in your food, you can soak or sprout your nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes!