Thursday, March 18, 2010

Phytates : Good or Bad?

The other day I mentioned phytates (or phytic acid) in a positive light and it may have confused some of you. There are many people who will tell you that phytates are bad for you and should be avoided. Lets look at that argument.

Phytates have an interesting property that allows them to bond to iron, zinc, and calcium. So if you eat them with those minerals, your body won't be able to absorb as much of those minerals as it might other wise.

Phytates also have a high phosphate content, but it is also bound up and unavailable for digestion for the most part.

So looking at those facts, one could say that phytates are a negative and should be avoided. But lets take another look.

Phytates, by binding up minerals, may actually be preventing the formation of free radicals, that do so much damage in the body, by keeping minerals at a safe level.

More and more researchers are recognizing problems caused by an overload of iron in the body. Phytates will act as antioxidants, and just a small amount of phytates can drastically cut down the amount of iron in the body.

Phytates have also been shown to help prevent cancer and even to activate the natural killer cells that attack and destroy cancer.

Phytates also are accompanied by plenty of fiber, so that helps with healthy digestive and elimination systems. As well as helping to regulate the use of glucose from starches.

Phtates are broken down by certain enzymes and food processing. For instance yeast fermentation in making bread dough breaks down phytates. Also sprouting grains, and seeds breaks down the phytates. Even soaking beans and cooking them can help to break down phytates.

The best sources of phytates are grains, nuts, and legumes.

So, as it turns out, the best thing to do is look for balance in your lifestyle. Don't go looking for tons of phytates, and don't worry about trying to avoid them. Eat a good balanced diet of whole foods and you will get what you need.

The human body is an amazing machine that has the ability to use what it needs and dump what it doesn't need. So the key is really in giving the body the resources that it needs to do what it needs to do.

HERE is a quick outline of the basics.

And HERE is a little more info about those basics.

HERE is a list of the rules along with a list of the things to eliminate from your lifestyle.

HERE is an article to help you understand balance.

Have a great day!
Coach G.

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