Phytic Acid: The Antinutrient in Your Wheat That Likes to Moonlight as a Good Guy

Phytic Acid: The Antinutrient in Your Wheat That Likes to Moonlight as a Good Guy

If you’re on a typical American diet, chances are you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs. One thing that doesn’t help is the presence of phytic acid in … well, it seems just about everything, including wheat, legumes, and nuts.

Phytic acid binds to minerals and keeps them from being absorbed. If you have an iron, zinc, magnesium, or manganese deficiency, phytic acid might be part of your problem. As a mother of a daughter with chronic iron deficiency, I wasn’t thrilled to learn that even when I manage to get her to eat healthily, there’s a good chance she’s not getting the nutrients.

The Solution for Your Health

Luckily, there are ways to break down the phytic acid so the nutrients are bioavailable. You have three choices: You can soak those beans or grains overnight, sprout them, or try fermentation.

Of course, you know our vote. We put our bread through a rigorous long-fermentation process that breaks down phytic acid and gluten proteins, resulting in a healthy, easier to digest, delicious bread.

But here’s a puzzler—phytic acid also provides anti-oxidants and is prevention against cancer. In other words, it keeps us from getting the nutrition we all so desperately need from our food, but it also helps us in our fight to avoid cancer. So what are we supposed to do about that? Are we really choosing between possibly dying of malnutrition or cancer? 

You know, sometimes Life seems like it’s being difficult on purpose.

But this is how I see it. There’s a reason bread is called the “staff of life.” It has so many of the nutrients we need to sustain us day by day. Going without the nutrition it provides can’t be the answer.

So eat the sourdough version of bread and maybe soak your beans or grains. Phytic acid is a star player in our food supply—if you’re making an effort to eat healthy food, you’re bound to get a good dose from other sources. 

Here’s a link if you’d like to learn more.

Michelle Hubbard is a graduate of Brigham Young University with an English degree and an editing minor. She won Leading Edge’s “Best First Chapter” award and later joined the publication as a slush reader and editor. After attending the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference in Sandy, Utah, she became a volunteer and this June will be her ninth year as an assistant. She is also a writing officer for Misha Collin’s charity Random Acts. A draft of her middle-grade novel, Oscar and the Ghosts of Paris, placed second with the Utah Arts Council. She lives in Pleasant Grove with her husband, sister, two children, and far too many pets

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