Some plant-based foods contain compounds known as antinutrients that can limit the absorption of nutrients present in them. This is becoming a great concern among people whose diets are based on legumes and grains. Hence, it is important to eliminate them from foods to facilitate the absorption of nutrients. Fortunately, you can reduce the levels of antinutrients from foods using some simple tips. We provide some tips for helping you to reduce the levels of these compounds from your foods so that it will be possible for your body to absorb the nutrients efficiently.
What Are Antinutrients?
Antinutrients are compounds present in some plant-based foods that can reduce the ability of your body to absorb nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition in people.
Antinutrients are mainly found in foods like grains and legumes. Therefore, this can become an issue for people whose diets are mainly based on these plant-based foods.
But antinutrients are not always bad. They can be beneficial in certain circumstances.
Some of the common antinutrients present in foods include:
Phytate: It is mainly found in grains, seeds, and legumes. This antinutrient can reduce the absorption of minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium.
Tannins: They can impair the digestion of different nutrients.
Lectins: They are found in most food plants, especially in legumes, seeds, and grains. Some lectins might be harmful when present in high amounts and they can interfere with nutrient absorption.
Protease Inhibitors: They are widely found in many plants including grains, seeds, and legumes. They can interfere with the digestion of protein by inhibiting digestive enzymes.
Methods To Reduce Antinutrients
There are different simple techniques you can do for reducing the amounts of antinutrients from foods. They are:
Soaking: Soaking beans and other legumes can be useful for increasing their nutritional value by reducing different antinutrients present in them. Soaking can be beneficial for decreasing the levels of phytate, lectins, protease inhibitors, tannins, and calcium oxalate.
Sprouting: Sprouting or germination of seeds can bring many changes in them. It can increase their bioavailability and is also found useful for the degradation of antinutrients like protease inhibitors and phytate.
Boiling: When you boil the foods, it can help to reduce the levels of different antinutrients like protease inhibitors, lectins, and tannins. Boiling can also reduce the levels of calcium oxalate. But phytate is heat-resistant, and cannot be easily degraded by boiling.
Antinutrients are compounds that are present in certain plant-based foods and can prevent your body from absorbing some essential nutrients present in the foods. But methods like soaking, boiling, and sprouting can be useful for reducing the levels of these compounds.