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PHYTIC ACID and PHYTASE (Cyclic acid and enzyme)

 

Phytic acid is a saturated cyclic acid that is the storage form of phosphorus as phytic phosphate in many plant tissues. When these plant  foods are consumed phytic acid acts as an enzyme inhibitor and reduces the human body's absorption of important minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and especially zinc by binding with them in the intestinal tract. In humans, phytase is an essential digestive enzyme that breaks down phytic acid to aid absorption and improve the nutritional quality of corn, grains, legumes and seeds.

 

Phytase exists within the natural foods that contain phytic acid and soaking overnight can help to release phytase which will then break down the phytic acid. Fermenting and sprouting legumes, nuts, seeds  and whole grains also reduces the phytic acid levels in these plant foods. This is especially important for those under the following circumstances:

  • Alcohol drinkers (also causes mineral deficiencies)

  • Anaemia (deficient in iron)

  • Bone disorders (often due to mineral deficiencies)

  • Cancer

  • Digestive disorders (have problems absorbing minerals)

  • Elderly people (absorb less minerals)

  • Growing children and infants (need extra minerals)

  • Medications (many drugs also cause mineral deficiencies)

  • Menstruating women (lose iron)

  • Pregnant women (use up and require extra minerals)

  • Sports nutrition: (those regularly performing intense physical activities and sports lose and use more minerals)

  • Tooth disorders  (often due to mineral deficiencies)

Phytase is also manufactured with the aid of mould cultures and is used most commonly for non-ruminant animal feed for pigs and poultry to aid with digestion and reduce the phosphate content of manure, minimising environmental consequences.

 

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Foods that contain phytic acid

 

 

Approximate levels of phytic acid in foods

          Food                 Minimum  Maximum

  • Sesame seed flour 5.36    5.36

  • Brazil nuts               1.97    6.34

  • Almonds                 1.35     3.22

  • Tofu                         1.46    2.90

  • Linseed                  2.15     2.78

  • Oat meal                0.89     2.40

  • Beans, pinto          2.38     2.38

  • Soybeans              1.00     2.22

  • Corn                       0.75     2.22

  • Peanuts                 1.05     1.76

  • Wheat flour            0.25     1.37

  • Wheat                    0.39     1.35

  • Oats                       0.42     1.16

  • Wheat germ          0.08     1.14

  • Wheat bread         0.43     1.05

  • Brown rice             0.84     0.99

  • Polished rice         0.14     0.60

  • Chickpeas             0.56     0.56

  • Lentils                    0.44     0.50

Soaking

Soaking legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds and grains overnight in a warm place, in warm mineral water at140° F (60° C) markedly reduces phytic acid content. However, this method does not work with all plant foods foods that contain high levels of phytic acid such as brown rice, corn, oats, millet and soya beans. Adding a complimentary tenth of freshly ground (using a coffee grinder) barley, buckwheat, kamut, rye, spelt and/or wheat when soaking any of these grains will work as the phytase in those grains will act on the others.

NOTE: Twelve hours of soaking will reduce phytic acids levels somewhat but better results can be obtained with a twenty-four hour soaking.

Method

Add an acidic medium to the pot too such as freshly squeezed , organic apple cider vinegar (unfiltered and unpasteurized) or pure unrefined sea salt. Use 10% of this medium to 90% of whatever is being soaked.

  • Sea salt (pure unrefined) for nuts/seeds

  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for grains

  • Kombu or kelp seaweed and/or bicarbonate of soda for legumes (pulses, peas and beans). Place one part kombu or kelp seaweed to six parts of legumes in the bottom of the pot when soaking them for improved flavour, digestion, more nutrients and faster cooking.

Rinse and refill the pot with fresh mineral water every eight hours during soaking and again add one of the mediums above.

Then finally rinse them well and pat them dry if drying out. They can be dried in the lowest setting of the oven with the door slightly ajar for 12-24 hours or air dried for longer. Then place in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

If consuming them without drying, keep covered in the refrigerator and eat within five days or so.

Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up in a coffee grinder to use as flour in many recipes after they have been soaked rinsed and dried. Drying in a lowest setting in the oven can take many hours so a dehydrator is useful. Make sure not to place in a sealed container until absolutely dry to ensure no mould can grow.

During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption. It increases levels of the B vitamins and reduces the polyphenols (tannins) and goitrogens levels in these foods which is also beneficial. Shop bought dried beans have very high levels of phytic acid and most can be soaked overnight to reduce phytic acid levels but soybeans should be fermented in a form of tempeh or miso for it to be effective.

Fermenting

The best way to ferment these plant foods is in brine (water and Himalayan pink salt crystals or unrefined sea salt). This acid medium breaks down the phytic acid and releases the minerals for easy absorption. It also has the added advantage of preserving the foods for up to a year and provides extra beneficial bacteria for the intestines. See also how to ferment them as Brine pickles.

Highest sources of apigenin in alphabetical order

NOTE: Grapefruit can interact with some types of medications.

Minerals phytic acid can reduce levels of

See also

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