So what’s the first thing that pops in your mind while talking about phytic acid? Is it the word ‘anti-nutrient’ that has grabbed the attention of scientists for all wrong reasons? Well, you are partially true, ladies! Phytic acid has gained quite a bad reputation for its contribution to mineral deficiencies in our body, but it also has its own set of benefits to offer to human health. We will enlighten you about the phytochemical through this post and share the list of foods that are high in it:
About Phytic Acid
Phytic acid or phytate, also known as IP-6 or Inositol Hexaphosphate, is basically the ‘storage form’ of the mineral phosphorus. It is mostly found in plant seeds including beans, legumes, nuts, whole grains, etc. while tubers, roots, and certain other veggies may contain in small amounts. Phytic acid is known to be associated with the sprouting of seeds and work as a potent source of energy throughout the process. During sprouting, the enzyme phytase works directly on the phytic acid to degrade it and release phosphorous, which is essential for the germination as well as the growth of seeds.
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Foods High In Phytic Acid
Before digging deeper into the fact that how phytic acid can benefit our health, let’s take a look at some foods that are significantly high in this phytochemical. Not all of them contain phytic acid in equal amounts. Rather, the acid content varies from one item to another massively. So, here is the list of plant-derived foods that are rich in phytic acid:
When it comes to the richest sources of phytic acid, different types of seeds certainly top the chart. According to the evidence of several studies, as much as 7% dry weight of all sorts of seeds is attributable to phytic acid, which is certainly the highest concentration. For example, a 100 gram serving of sesame seeds holds almost 5.4 grams of phytic acid. Other varieties, such as flax seeds, sunflower seeds, rape seeds, linseeds, etc. also have the component in more or less same amounts. For maximum nutritional benefits, one should soak seeds and dry-roast them before consumption.
Nuts are placed in the second position in the list of top phytic acid-rich natural food items. There is a wide range of nuts and this acid can form up to 3% of their dry weight. As per sources, a serving of 100 grams of almond contains approximately 9.4 grams of phytic acid. The amount becomes 6.7 grams and 5 grams in the case of walnuts and cashews respectively. Make sure that you soak and / or toast your favorite nuts before snacking them on.
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A wide variety of beans (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, soy beans, navy beans, cowpeas, broad beans, and so forth) are available in the market and their phytic acid content lies anywhere between 2% and 3% of their dry weight. A 100 gram serving of cowpeas contains around 3 grams of the phytochemical while the same serving of broad beans offers 1.7 grams of it. On the other hand, 100 grams of black, pinto and kidney beans can provide nearly 2.4 grams of phytic acid. To make the most of these beans, you must soak them in warm water overnight and cook the next morning.
- Whole Grains
The outer bran layers of grains are enriched with phytic acid. Hence, while choosing grains for embracing phytic acid, you should opt for the whole grains instead of the refined ones. These include wheat bran, rice bran, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat, oats, barley, corns, rye, and so on. It has been seen that a serving of 100 grams of wheat bran has 7.3 grams of phytic acid to offer. In the case of rice barn, wild rice and oats, the amounts will become 2.6 grams, 2.3 grams, and 0.4 grams respectively. Pre-soaking whole grains before intake will help you take maximum nutrition out of them.
Potatoes are also quite rich in phytic acid. The best thing about phytate in potatoes is that it remains absolutely intact even after cooking, baking, roasting or frying.
Apart from these, other common fruits and vegetables also contain phytic acid or phytate in small amounts.
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Health Benefits Of Phytic Acid
Now, here are the benefits that phytic acid actually offers to our body:
- Helps in preventing cell damages, thereby protecting against breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
- Puts a stop to the formation of kidney stones.
- Improves our cardiovascular health by averting the hardening of artery walls.
- Keeps us fuller for a longer span of time.
- Fights against certain genetic disorder called hemochromatosis in which the patient suffers from iron overload in his/her body.
- Offers protection from free radical damages with the help of antioxidant properties.
Hence, make sure that you consume phytic acid-rich foods in moderate amounts, but do not cut them off your diet chart completely.