Antinutrients in legumes and grains

What’s your point of view on the antinutrients, such as phytic acid, common in legumes?
I learnt about them in my university course during spring but i don’t really think about them when i eat. There are protease inhibitors that can interfere with the enzymes that breakdown and digest protein and there are lectins which can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients.  And in beans, oats, spinach, there is phytic acid which to calcium and iron and other nutrients and lowers their absorption and bioavailability. Spinach also contains oxalic acid which also bonds to calcium and iron so unfortunately spinach is not the best food for iron as it has very low bioavailability and not all the iron is absorbed. Not to mention that plant based foods have a different form of iron than the iron in meat which is already has a lower absorption level. Source


So if a person has iron deficiency or even calcium deficincy it is important to be aware of the phytic acid in vegetables/beans but also in coffee, tea, chocolate etc I.e if you have iron deficiency try to not drink coffee or tea with one of your main meals or a meal that has a lot of iron because then you won’t absorb all the iron that you could have!

There are ways to lessen the effect of the antinutrients such as sprouting and soaking vegetables (especially beans!) and also boiling/heating/the way you prepare the food can lessen the affect. I.e this is why you don’t eat raw beans – you need to soak them (8-12 hours) and then boil them until they are soft so that you have broken down the antinutrients/phytic acid! Also consuming food/drink with vitamin C can increase the absorption of iron from your food 🙂 I.e add some tomato, pepper or fruit with your main meals or drink some orange juice to increase iron intake (if this is necessary, it’s not necessary for everyone! ) Source


So if you do lack some type of vitamin or mineral it can be good to take those things into consideration, but generally speaking I don’t think about them. However i also take supplements as well as eating alot i.e the more food you eat the more vitamins and minerals you will get into you.

Also, if you do think you lack a vitamin or mineral, get your blood work done and then go see a dietitian and if you eat vegan, preferably go to a dietitian who knows about a plant based diet! I went to a dietitian this summer and it was actually me giving her more information and advice than she gave me as she didn’t know anything about a vegan diet or what to think about!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Eszter says:

    I love this kind of posts!They are cery interesting, even though I probably wont check the vitamin content of the food I put together. Keep sharing, its an amazing blog!


    1. It’s not necessary to check/know the nutrition in food! As long as you eat varied and balanced and let dieticians do that work if necessary!


  2. You would think they would at least have a basic knowledge considering Veganism is so popular in your country. I can see you are going to make a great nutritionist in your future career!
    Interesting post, although it all sounds rather complicated. I always thought you just soaked beans to make them soft and to get rid of the toxins, never heard of this but I guess if you eat varied enough it will sort itself out in the end?


    1. Haha I have an advantage as I know about a vegan diet as well and think that will help alot in the future:) the lectins and phytic acids are the toxins. They are the vegetables/beans “protection” and can be toxic for humans in too high amounts, that’s why we have to soak and cook them! 🙂


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