Thursday, March 8, 2012

Phytic Acid, White Hat or Black

Confused a bit but trudging onward on the subject of phytic acid and phytates acid. But in particular, phytic acid. It appears to be the good guy and the bad guy. It trades between wearing a white hat and a black hat. What, your not a western movie fan? Well, in the old old western movies with the cowboys and the outlaws and the overly dramatized death scenes and falls off the backs of the horses was a simple way of telling who the bad guy was and the good. The good guys wore white cowboy hats and the bad guys always wore black.

Sometimes one the  actors would change colors and you knew whether or not to trust. Now if we could only take this old code of the west into modern life wouldn't that be nice. LOL 

Anyway, back to my subject, phytic acid. This fellow, phytic acid, that changes hat colors is in dried beans, nuts, grains, and even some vegetables. A complete list of foods I'm still searching for.

But I do know that those health gurus who try to tell you to eat all your foods raw aren't interested in your health, just making money. Foods such as broccoli and carrots which are high in phytic acid should be eaten raw and cooked. Confusing you, well join the club.

All I can say is that carrots, which are the best source of carotene, a high antioxidant, are also high in phenolic components like phytic acid, a anti-nutrient, and if you aren't careful they won't let you have any carotene. This acid binds with nutrients, specifically, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc taking them out of your system. 

Though the phytic acids binds with nutrients you want to keep, it also binds with heavy metals and some cholesterol and flushes them out. Cholesterol wears a white hat and a black one too. You need cholesterol because it is the stuff hormones are made of but too much and it switches hat colors destroying your heart.

But in the case of carrots, it won't let you have the carotene and hence, a little heat is necessary to lower the phytic levels. So should you eat raw carrots, by all means. Cook them, yes. Just keep things in balance. 

Because phytic acids are also very beneficial. Though even a little bit of phytic acid can lower your iron absorption in half, they also activate killer cells that enhance the immune system and are particularly effective in preventing colon cancer and breast cancer.

A plus in particular for diabetics is phytic acids ability to regulate the glucose absorption from starches such as that in potatoes and whole grain breads, of which potatoes and grain are high in phytic acid also. 

Yet, one has to be careful. We often try to go for the easy solution and end up hurting ourselves worse. Take for instance if your diet is full of the traditional, non treated whole wheat bread, raw broccoli, carrots, strawberries, potatoes, raw nuts and seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseed, rapeseed, almonds) and you will find yourself instead malnutrition.

I'm learning that good health isn't a light minded journey. You need to know your foods individually and not take a blanket approach.

That oatmeal that you've been eating for breakfast to lower your cholesterol will also lower the iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc in your body. Should you stop eating it. No, just think moderation of untreated oatmeal and soak some over night also in a small amount of acid before cooking the next morning. My plan, some granola and some cooked because oatmeal can be a great source of protein, 17 percent.  Something I need for my non functioning adrenal glands. Yet, keep in mind that this protein is not the kind with gluten and so it doesn't help make your breads rise though it does give them longer shelf life.

Now I need to figure out a way to incorporate all I've learned into every day cooking.

No, soy milk won't be entering the picture with its super high magnesium levels though I struggle to maintain those. Nope, its high in phytic acids and my body won't see any of those wonderful nutrients the carton touts. Besides, tofu and soy are deadly on the thyroid and we have a bad history of thyroid problems. Coconut flour is another bad guy in this area.

Feeling ready to give up and throw in the towel because here you thought you were being so good with your granola bar, whole wheat bread, and soy milk. Don't dispare. I'm right there with you on the now what do I do problem but I've been giving it a lot of thought and I'm working out a plan. More research is needed but I've got a starting point, a few new recipes to try, a few ways of tweaking old recipes, and yes, sprouted wheat will be on the counter along with wheat flour soaking in a small amount of acid.

This will be a long journey as each grain has different properties such as high gluten such as winter wheat, low gluten or about non existent gluten such as oats, or strong cell structure like in winter wheat or a weaker more delicate structure that's in Kamut. I've loads to learn. 

Come along for the ride. We'll learn together and thanks. Yes, I did see that sourdough is a great way to break down phytic acids. It also has cancer fighting traits. But I might of missed that fact and I'm glad you wrote to tell me. My starts have been hibernating for the last few months in the refrigerator but they are coming out.  

Stay tuned, any day Chicory will be kidding. It's got to be triplets and maybe quads.


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