How to Reduce Antinutrients in Foods
Nutrients in plants are not always easily digested. This is because plants may contain antinutrients.
Antinutrients are plant compounds that reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients from the digestive system...
They are not a major concern for most people, but may become a problem during periods of malnutrition,. However, antinutrients aren’t always “bad.” Under some circumstances, antinutrients like phytate and tannins may have some beneficial health effects as well.
The most widely studied antinutrients include:
•Phytate (phytic acid): Mainly found in seeds, grains and legumes, phytatereduces the absorption of minerals from a meal. These include iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium).
•Tannins: A class of antioxidant polyphenols that may impair the digestion of various nutrients.
•Lectins: Found in all food plants, especially in seeds, legumes and grains. Some lectins may be harmful in high amounts, and interfere with the absorption of nutrients Protease inhibitors: Widely distributed among plants, especially in seeds, grains and legumes. They interfere with protein digestion by inhibiting digestive enzymes.
•Calcium oxalate: The primary form of calcium in many vegetables, such as spinach. The calcium bound to oxalate is poorly absorbed (.
In some cases, they can be eliminated almost completely
Below is an overview of the main antinutrients and effective ways to eliminate them.
•Phytate (phytic acid): Soaking, sprouting, fermentation.
•Lectins: Soaking, boiling, heating, fermentation.
•Tannins: Soaking, boiling.
•Protease inhibitors: Soaking, sprouting, boiling.
•Calcium oxalate: Soaking, boiling.
.By combining different methods, many antinutrients can be degraded almost completely.
By Atli Arnarson, PhD