Phytic acid, or phytate, is an antioxidant found in all edible plant seeds, including legumes.
It impairs the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium from the same meal and may increase the risk of mineral deficiencies in people who rely on legumes or other high-phytate foods as a dietary staple (5Trusted Source, 6).
However, this is only relevant when meat intake is low and high-phytate foods regularly make up a large part of meals — which is common in developing countries (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
People who regularly eat meat are not at risk of mineral deficiencies caused by phytic acid (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source), as previously noted. Here Atli Arnarson, HealthLine.com, reflects on everything you need to know about phytic acid:
“Phytic acid is a unique natural substance found in plant seeds.
It has received considerable attention due to its effects on mineral absorption.
Phytic acid impairs the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium and may promote mineral deficiencies (1Trusted Source).
Therefore, it is often referred to as an anti-nutrient.
However, the story is a bit more complicated than that because phytic acid also has a number of health benefits.
This article takes a detailed look at phytic acid and its overall effects on health.
Phytic Acid in Foods
Phytic acid is only found in plant-derived foods.
All edible seeds, grains, legumes and nuts contain it in varying quantities, and small amounts are also found in roots and tubers.
The following table shows the amount contained in a few high-phytate foods, as a percentage of dry weight (1Trusted Source):
As you can see, the phytic acid content is highly variable. For example, the amount contained in almonds can vary up to 20-fold.
How To Reduce Phytic Acid in Foods?
Avoiding all foods that contain phytic acid is a bad idea because many of them are healthy and nutritious.
Also, in many developing countries, food is scarce and people need to rely on grains and legumes as their main dietary staples.
Fortunately, several preparation methods can significantly reduce the phytic acid content of foods.
Here are the most commonly used methods:
- Soaking: Cereals and legumes are often soaked in water overnight to reduce their phytate content (1Trusted Source, 4).
- Sprouting: The sprouting of seeds, grains and legumes, also known as germination, causes phytate degradation (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
- Fermentation: Organic acids, formed during fermentation, promote phytate breakdown. Lactic acid fermentation is the preferred method, a good example of which is the making of sourdough (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
Combining these methods can reduce phytate content substantially.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/phytic-acid-101
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