After reading stuff on the Internet about how phytic acid interferes with the absorption of minerals in grains, nuts and seeds I started fermenting my breakfast porridge (steel cut oats, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa and teff) and buying sprouted nuts and seeds. My question is whether you think this is really necessary.

Firstly, we certainly recommend including fermented and sprouted foods as part of your diet; however, we don't believe this is a necessary step to avoid any potential negative concerns that may be associated with eating a diet rich in phytic acid.

Raw, uncooked grains, legumes and nuts/seed contain phytic acid, which will be naturally reduced as a result of cooking these foods. The reduction in phytic acid content will vary depending on the cooking time. However, other than the recommended cooking time specific to each grain or legume, we don't encourage any additional cooking to further reduce the phytic acid content. This reduction seems natural and is a part of healthy eating.

One of the long-standing concerns about phytates in food has been their ability to interfere with mineral absorption. For instance, when oats have been cooked, or milled into flour, their phytate content will typically fall into a range of approximately 2-7 milligrams per gram. We've seen studies in which the absorption of minerals like zinc and copper fall into the range of 10-30% when the phytic acid level of the grain or legume is 4 milligrams per gram. When virtually all of the phytic acid is removed from the grain or legume, this absorption range will increase for zinc into the area of 25-40% but will remain essentially unchanged for copper.

In this context, it is also important to remember that phytic acid is often a plant's key storage form for the mineral phosphorus and for a nutrient called inositol. These nutrient components of phytic acid are health supportive substances. For this reason, eating raw phytic acid containing foods, such as nuts/seeds, also seems reasonable to us. You can learn more from this FAQ on our website. What is phytic acid and can it interfere with the absorption of iron from plant-based foods?

privacy policy and visitor agreement | who we are | site map | what's new
For education only, consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.
© 2001-2014 The George Mateljan Foundation, All Rights Reserved