It seems many people do not know about anti-nutrients. They are the bad guys and can substantially lower the nutrition value of food you have eaten.
Many plant foods contain anti-nutrients, with the ability to lock out key vitamins and minerals from your diet by preventing your body from being able to absorb these. Carbohydrates use up large amounts of magnesium to be digested. Phytic acid which is common in seeds such as wheat, prevents the absorption of minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc by binding to them before your body can absorb them. Oxalates found in spinach and soy and many other vegetables, inhibit the absorption of calcium. Protease inhibitors in Soy inhibits the action of enzymes pepsin and trypsin which prevents them from breaking down protein for absorption.
Vitamins B12, B6, B1, B2, niacin, and zinc are common deficiencies on a vegan diet in part due to the action of these anti-nutrients.
There are a number of ways to reduce the impact of anti-nutrients, such as soaking, fermenting, cooking, sprouting with different methods working for different anti-nutrients. For example, Phytates (Phytic acid) in nuts, grains and seeds is heat resistant so sprouting works best to reduce this. If you eat a lot of corn then you must learn about the process of soaking and then cooking in an alkaline solution to make niacin available. To get the full value of any nutrient from a vegan diet, you must know all about this and apply it to each type of food you are eating.
Study the table below for how to minimize the impact of anti-nutrients. For some people these have little obvious impact although they could be having a hidden impact on their health. For others the impact can be immediate and maybe even life threatening.
One easy way to avoid these anti-nutrients from impacting your health is to get plenty of nutrients from meat and particularly organ meat. Liver for example has more nutrients than any other food. There is a little restaurant in Oamaru, New Zealand, called 'The Star and Garter' that do a delicious Liver, Bacon and mushrooms dish if you ask.
George Elder, Take Back Your Health, Amazon $3.99
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