Grains- The Health Benefits & Why Most Of Your Daily Intake Need To Be Fermented
I recently posted a recipe for ‘Almond Pancakes’ which are grain free and it started up much conversation. There is a change, as there are many, in the way we should be eating and being grain free is one of them. Firstly I would like to say that I do not think grains should be eliminated completely. Grains provide many nutritional benefits such as containing B group vitamins, which play a role in metabolism. Folate, which helps the body form red blood cells. Iron, which help to carry oxygen in the blood. Selenium, which is great for immunity and help to prevent oxidation of the cells. Magnesium, which help to build strong bones and help with energy release from the muscles. Grains are also high in fibre which help with normal digestion and keep you fuller for longer. So as you can see, grains are important to include. However, grains contain phytic acid which is the storage form of phosphorus in plant tissues such as wheat, rice, rye, barley, nuts etc. Phosphorus, in this form, is not bioavailible to humans because we lack the enzyme, phytase, which is required to separate phosphorus from the phytate molecule. Due to this, phytic acid binds to minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium, as well as B vitamins. This blocks their absorption and can contribute to a mineral deficiency. Grains that are absent from phytic acid contain 20% more zinc and 60% more magnesium.
We can tolerate a small amount of phytic acid, around 100-400mg a day so allowing yourself some grains that have not been fermented is perfectly fine. I have listed some foods with their phytic acid level (per 100g) to give you a guide;
Brazil Nuts 1,719
Roasted Peanuts 952
Brown Rice 840
Refine Beans 622
Wheat Flour 250
Whole Wheat Bread 430
So as you can see, many grains contain a high amount of phytic acid but now that you know their levels, you can allow yourself the 100-400mg of un-fermented grains/nuts a day. Just divide the number by 10 and that will give you how much phytic acid is in 10g of the chosen grain/nut. For example 10g of almonds has 113.8g of phytic acid.
To get rid of the phytic acid, the grains need to be sprouted or fermented. The following is how to ferment grains/nuts;
1) Place grains into a bowl, fill the bowl with room temperature water until grains/nuts are covered
2) Add an acid medium (you can use yoghurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) use one tablespoon per cup of grains. Use 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of nuts
3) Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 7 hours but ideally for12-24 hours
4) Drain before in a strainer once done soaking
If you are soaking nuts, they are going to become soft after this process. To dry them you will need to dehydrate them using a dehydrated or your oven. You can dehydrate them in the oven at 120-150 degrees Celsius for 12-24 hours, you will just need to check on them as the are heated.
I understand that this can be difficult for some so nuts may be your 100-400mg of phytic acid each day!
You can buy some foods that have already been fermented such as sourdough bread (choose rye or wholemeal). This is the only bread that you will see in my kitchen.
I understand that there will be times where you are unable to get fermented grains/nuts and you may go over your phytic acid level that day, this is fine, it’s when you are eating high levels of phytic acid everyday that will become a problem.