All grains contain enzyme inhibitors and toxins (ex. phytates, tannins, goitrogens) unfit for human consumption. These harmful substances are nature’s brilliant way of storing genetic plant material until it has a good chance of producing a plant.
These inhibitors and toxins are what allow grain seeds to remain dormant and stored for long periods of time. By doing so, they maintain potency for thousands of years! Given the right conditions – fertile soil, water, sunlight – all grain seeds, as well as legumes and nuts, grow into sturdy plants.
Un-Soaked Grains Can Lead to a Serious Net Loss of Minerals and Bone.
Un-soaked, un-germinated grains present a real problem for human beings and are detrimental to good health. This is because the husk of a grain seed contains digestive enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid* which bind to proteins and key minerals in our digestive tract. Once bound, proper absorption of vital nutrients found in grains – especially calcium, copper, iron, and zinc – is blocked and unable to be assimilated.
When ingested, phytic acid and inhibitors prevent the body’s own enzymes from working properly and prohibit proper absorption of nutrients and minerals.
Consumed on a regular basis, un-soaked and un-germinated grain can irritate the digestive tract – potentially leading to a variety of health conditions, including leaky gut, IBS and food intolerances.
Eat your grain…just make sure it’s soaked and sprouted or cooked!
Enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances found in grains can be minimized, or eliminated, in as little 8-24 hours. We can achieve this by soaking grain in warm water with an acid (yogurt, whey, lemon juice). This simple step mimics Nature’s germination process, fooling the seed to sprout and activate its enzymes.
Soaked seeds are full of good enzymes that can increase the availability of vitamins to our body and allow nutrients to be readily absorbed.
Properly prepared grains are living, enzyme-rich foods that are naturally low in calories with significantly higher amounts of bio-available calcium, iron and zinc than un-soaked grains. For example, vitamin A content doubles; various B group vitamins are 5 – 10 times higher; and vitamin C increases! How’s that for nutrient-dense food?
Properly prepared grains are living, enzyme-rich foods with an abundance of bio-available calcium, iron and zinc.
Our modern way of preparing grains often overlook this crucial soaking and germinating step. Yet traditional civilizations have practiced it for thousands of years in various forms. Taking the necessary steps to minimize and eliminate grain’s harmful inhibitors and toxic substances, you can return this art of food preparation to your own kitchen!
Click to learn how to prepare your grains healthfully.
*Phytic acid is found in all grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and requires an acidified liquid to encourage the activity of phytase – an enzyme required to break down phytic acid.
Fallon, S. (2001). Nourishing Traditions. Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, Inc.
Fallon, S. and Enig, M. (2000). Be Kind To Your Grains…And Your Grains Will Be Kind To You. The Weston A. Price Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/be-kind-to-your-grains
Nagel, R. (2010). Living with Phytic Acid. The Weston A. Price Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/1893-living-with-phytic-acid.html
Nourished Kitchen. (2009). Sprouted Grain: Benefits, Preparation and Recipes. Retrieved fromhttp://nourishedkitchen.com/sprouted-grain/
Passionate Homemaking (2008). Soaking Methods for the Dairy Intolerant. Retrieved from http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/10/q-a-soaking-for-the-dairy-free.html