Phytic acid is a plant-based compound that disrupts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This compound is often found in legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts. Different methods are used to decrease or even eliminate phytic acids in food. In today’s post, we are listing down the most practical preparations to minimize phytic acids in grain, nuts and legumes:
Soaking the grains or legumes is the most common way to reduce the phytic level in these food items. According to the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, soaking phytic acid-rich foods eliminate 60% of the acid.
If say, you are soaking the beans, we recommend doing so for a minimum of 12 hours. This ensures maximum loss of phytic acid. After soaking the beans for 12 hours, drain the liquid and rinse the beans several times. Never use the soaking water for cooking. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
Another method that will eliminate phytic acids in grains, legumes or beans is to apply heat. It’s not as effective as soaking but it will magnify the loss of phytic acid. This works well if you’re cooking sprouts too. To apply heat, simply put the grains or beans in a large pot. Start adding water and boil in high heat. You want to boil the grains for several minutes. After boiling, remove the heat and let the whole thing soak for at least 24 hours.
Most legumes and seeds like chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans and northern beans can be soaked to minimize phytic acids, soybeans are an exception. Phytic acids in soybeans are reduced only through fermentation. You can always ferment soybeans at home, but you can also opt for store-bought fermented soybeans. Products like tempeh and miso are great examples of fermented beans. On the other hand, soymilk contains a high level of phytic acid. That’s because it’s not fermented. The soybean extract is cooked so there are a lot of acids left out in the liquid.
Grinding the grains or seeds also help reduce phytic acid. In fact, grinding and fermentation goes hand in hand with preparations to minimize phytic acid in certain foods. Grinding grains break their cellular structure. This expands the surface area of the grains. It will trigger the release of certain enzymes that are critical for the transformation of the food. Under the right conditions, lactic bacteria will start increasing the acidity of the batter. Lactic bacteria are naturally present in most grains. This is the reason why grinding works well to reduce phytic acid.
Of course, not a lot of people want to go through the hassle of grinding their grains. And this is understandable. But with the right tools, grinding the grains is a fast, straightforward affair. The key is to establish a routine. You want to organize your tools so you can work faster. Or, you can grind the grains in advance so you can whip up any dish that requires it in a snap.