I've been reading up on phytates, and although on one hand I understand it's importance, it's really driving me up the wall to read biased articles blasting grains and legumes.
To understand my frustration requires some background info.
The element phosphorus is stored in the bran/outer hull of plants in the form of phytic acid. However, the phosphorus in this form is not available to us unless it's released. (or unless we develop a second stomach like cows!) Phytase-the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid, is one of the heros in this post. However, if there is no phytase, the acid binds with other elements like calcium, zinc, magnesium,etc. and pretty much runs away with those nutrients via excretion. And we are left mineral deprived.
Ain't got no phosphorus and now I'm outta calcium, too!!
That is why it's taught that in certain cultures, grains, nuts and legumes are either soaked in an acidic medium, fermented, or prepared in some way in order that the phytates are neutralized.
Ok, that's cool.
I'm all for manipulating the grain or legume in the proper way to benefit health-wise from it.
It certainly is not a reason to abandon them entirely!! (I read such advice on a couple of sites)
While digging up info on the matter, I've read in several places that meat and ascorbic acid/also found in Vitamin C can reduce the effects of phytates.
"-both Asian and Western children who do not get enough meat and fish products to counteract the effects of a high phytate diet, frequently suffer rickets, stunting and other growth problems." -http://www.scienceofhealthindex.com/cinderelladarkside.pdf
Study done at University of Goteborg, Sweden:
"The most feasible way to improve iron nutrition in populations where the traditional diet has a high phytate content would probably be to increase the ascorbic acid content."
It's known that the interaction of various foods creates a synergy-istic power, where all the parts work together in a beautiful balance that we cannot understand or recreate.
In Chinese Medicine (my new passion) we'll find that eating various foods together are encouraged in order to create balance b/w energies and tastes.
I definitely cannot ignore the phytate issue or just start eating tons of meat in order to avoid properly preparing grains and legumes ('cuz it takes more time than what we are used to in terms of preparing food), but I am throwing a monkey wrench so we can keep asking questions and not take info at face value-even the health info.
Check it out: