07 June 2019

Managing PHYTATES on a Plant-Based Diet + What I Ate Today

Glass water bottle and iridescent stainless steel straw are from SANDCLOUD, a company devoted to reducing plastic waste and protecting our marine ...


good morning guys so I am on a bit of a mission today and headed up to our property to meet a contractor and that is going to disrupt my glorious breakfast so I am working on the rest of my morning water this is what I drink pretty much every morning got a stainless steel iridescent beautiful straw and then I have some overnight cold brewed white teeth and I'm going to drink as a head over to the property and as you saw I packed up breakfast got my bamboo spoon and as I'm sure you guys can tell from the title of this video today we are going to be talking about phytates we'll be going over what phytates are why their problem how we can avoid them and if phytates actually are a problem so to get us started water phytates so phytates begin as phytic acid phytic acid is a phosphate based compound that's found in many plant foods but it's especially prominent in seeds like any plant food that can sprout and grow a plant beans whole grains nuts seeds when phytic acid binds with a mineral it becomes a phytate and that Clues us into the reason that phytates

are known as anti nutrients it's because phytic acid has an affinity for binding with essential minerals like iron zinc calcium magnesium manganese and potassium so when these minerals bind with phytic acid to make a phytate they are no longer available for absorption from our digestive tract and so if we're consuming a large quantity of food that is quite high in phytates and if we are relying on those foods to get our essential minerals we could potentially ends up having issues with mineral deficiencies now I don't know about you but I take deficiencies and essential nutrients pretty darn seriously and since a lot of the foods that I eat are beans whole grains nuts seeds I think it's really important to know more about this have a fine-looking mobile breakfast as you can tell there are a lot of fruits on top four or five of our little apple bananas I have some blueberries mango and then squished under there is some beautiful orange sweet potato and then I have a mixture of ground flax seeds pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on top and these of course do contain phytates but there are ways that we can limit our

exposure to this type of anti nutrient perhaps the easiest and the most obvious way to limit the effect that phytates can have on our mineral absorption is to avoid really high phytate foods I don't know how many hundreds of millions of times you've probably heard me say it at this point but a varied whole plant food diet is the best way to guarantee that you're getting all of the nutrients that you need and that you're avoiding the anti nutrients that you don't need I could just get my words out sometimes looking through lists that show the phytic acid contents of various foods you'll probably notice that some foods are just naturally higher than others things like peanuts and soy beans pinto beans navy beans etc now this doesn't mean just because a food has a fair amount of phytic acid in it that you need to absolutely avoid it and take it off the menu permanently it just means that you probably shouldn't base your diet on that food every single day for weeks months or years on end now there are some very high sources of phytates that are best to avoid the one that really stands out to me is bran so bran is the outermost shell on whole grains

and it just so turns out that the phytates are concentrated there now way back in the day before eaten healthy was a trendy thing people who got onto vegan or vegetarian diets would end up consuming quite a bit of bran because it was really rich in some necessary vitamins and minerals and it was nice and rich fiber and because we thought okay well if a little bit is good for us then a lot must be better a good portion of people who were involved in a healthy eating community ended up eating a ton of bran and my guesses that ended up causing some problems for these people due to the high levels of phytates found in the brand so again I really can't stress it enough eat real food eat whole plant foods and if a little bit is good for us that doesn't mean that more is better what did I say last week oh yeah don't eat like a wackadoodle the next way to limit the effect that phytates can have on our dietary mineral absorption is to naturally increase the amount of minerals that we absorb from our food so at this point if you've been watching my videos you know that it's no secret that vitamin C increases the

absorption of iron now that doesn't mean that we should use high-dose vitamin C supplements because you may remember from the video on oxalates that high-dose vitamin C supplements can increase the amount of oxalic acid that our livers produce and thus expose us to a huge amount of anti nutrients so we're not gonna mega dose vitamin C supplements no we're going to get natural vitamin C from whole plant foods beta-carotene is another nutrient that drastically improves absorption of iron from our intestines and when we're eating a whole plant food diet it's really easy to get our iron and other mineral rich foods along with foods that are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene because these are our whole grains beans fruits and vegetables they go together so well a lot of us have also heard by now that vitamin D and vitamin K increases calcium absorption from the intestines but what a lot of people don't realize is that some really interesting cooking techniques can drastically improve the mineral availability in our food the ones specifically that I'm thinking of is adding a little bit just a tiny amount

of onions and garlic to our whole grains or legumes as we cook them studies have shown that this small and delicious addition - our cooking can really boost absorption of minerals and the final way we can limit the effect that phytates can have on our mineral absorption is with phytase so phytase is an enzyme that breaks down phytates and releases their minerals for absorption probably the most well known way to activate phytase is through soaking and sprouting high phytic acid foods so when we soak whole grains beans nuts and seeds endogenous phytase in the seeds comes alive and starts deactivating the phytic acid so the general rule is to soak your whole grains beans nuts and seeds for 12 to 24 hours before you cook or eat them and because many of the phytates are liberated into the soak water it is best to pour off that soak water before you cook or eat one really effective way to get access to a lot of phytase is through food fermentation the specific example that really stands out in my mind is sourdough it's been found that traditionally made sourdough breads can have up to 97% of their phytic acid

broken down by phytase that's really big another interesting source of phytase is our own gut bacteria since it is the decade of the microbiome obviously our gut bacteria have something to do with it but I do think it's wise to keep in mind that this is a fairly new Lee studied area and we're not really sure yet how much phytase is produced or how much that phytase that's produced in our intestines can liberate minerals for actual absorption into our bodies it does appear that the more phytic acid rich foods that we eat the more bacteria that produce phytase end up in the intestines and so that's something interesting to keep in mind but I am personally not relying on my gut bacteria to save me from phytic acid which brings us to the very important question is phytic acid actually a problem now certainly like I've said huge amounts of phytic acid in the diet could definitely lead to issues with mineral deficiencies but there is some really interesting research about phytates that i don't think should be dismissed research papers like the ones that have found that phytates are potent antioxidants papers like the

ones that have found that phytates have really powerful anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties given a lot of that research was done in vitro AKA in test tubes or petri dishes but these anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties of phytates are powerful and have the potential to exert some really impressive effects especially on tissues where absorption of phytates into the bloodstream isn't necessary tissues like our small intestine and colon because of the direct exposure of phytates to the tissues of our digestive tracts some researchers are postulating that this could be one of the mechanisms of action behind the consistent findings that people who eat a lot of phytate rich foods like legumes and whole grains generally speaking have much lower rates of digestive tract cancers additionally one of the primary concerns that people have with phytates is that they bind to minerals and when we think of issues with mineral absorption i know i certainly think of osteoporosis and low bone density however studies have found that the people who eat the most phytic acid rich foods have the lowest risk of osteoporosis and higher bone mineral

density additionally probably due to the effect that phytates can have on certain digestive enzymes like amylase the digestive enzyme that breaks down starches research has found that intake of phytates is protective against large spikes in blood sugar essentially it looks like phytates decrease the glycemic load of foods because of this many researchers are saying that the intake of phytate rich foods may be protective against type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome I think it's also wise to keep in mind that minerals are not always our friends it's now well known and widely accepted that iron is pro-oxidant that means that it's very easy for it to cause oxidation within our bodies and likely because of that high levels of iron are associated with many of our top killers in fact high levels of iron and zinc in the body have even been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's so the absorption of more minerals is not always the best thing but at this point and if you're still with me way to go you're probably thinking okay well then what do I do

and to answer that question I have to get back to the sage advice of y'all just don't eat like wackadoodles in my own diet my priority is not to avoid phytates 100% but it's also not my priority to over eat them so obviously I do consume plenty of whole grains beans nuts and seeds and I do sometimes try to purposefully reduce the phytate content of those foods but only when it is super convenient for me to do so as an example yesterday I thought to myself gosh I'd like to cook some chickpeas so I put those chickpeas in a big bowl filled them up with water and they have been soaking for the last about 22 hours last night I thought geez tomorrow I might like to have some almonds and I would like the nutrients and those almonds to be readily available so I put them inside this little bowl filled it with water and they have been soaking for about 22 hours as well I usually don't bother to soak the seeds that I eat because a lot of types of seeds I'm thinking specifically of flax seeds and chia seeds tend to get pretty like gummy when you soak them they produce a lot of gel and because those seeds are quite small and need to be ground up in order

to be absorbed anyway I don't bother to soak them I also tend to err on the lazy side of the spectrum like I'm already going to quite a bit of effort to get myself like fresh local organic food soaking it on top of everything else is just like a little bit too unsustainable for my taste I also just don't have the pre-planning capacity or the patience to pre-soak or try to sprout the grains that I eat that's just like not gonna happen for me and so in my personal opinion after reviewing all of the cons and pros of phytates I have personally decided that I'm not gonna worry about reducing my phytate intake all that much instead I just focus on eating a whole plant food diet with a lot of variety of whole grains beans nuts seeds fruits vegetables etc and that has been working just fine for me for the last five to ten years on that note all of this talking has gotten me kind of hungry I'm gonna go have lunch alright this is going to be lunch today I have some leftover whole grain gluten-free oil-free vegan bread it is whole-grain and it was unsoaked so it's probably quite high in phytates and I'm okay with that right now I also have

some plain unmerited cold tofu which is like call me crazy I'm sure someone will one of my favorite foods like put me in the tofu press let me die happy I put some of my mustard on top of that sliced up soaked almonds red onions I have some Tomatoes hiding in here and then a little bitty head of lettuce I'm gonna kind of like smush all of this together and eat it with my hands and it's gonna be super grotesque and that's why you guys are not gonna watch me do it okie dokie so this is gonna do me for lunch I will see you guys for dinner dinner that looks like a pretty satisfying spread to me I made a big old salad out of lettuce kale tomato carrot onion blah blah blah blah it's dressed with black tahini a splash of apple cider vinegar a little sprinkle of mrs. dash and a little sprinkle of kelp powder to give me my dine for the day I have an orange sweet potato they're a little bed of brown rice and that brown rice was cooked with onion and garlic to increase the mineral absorption from those grains and then I have my pre soaked chickpeas that were also cooked with onion and garlic it has the little sprinkle of food Akaka on top and then a little bit of sweet chili

sauce just to you know keep my addiction going you never leave yet are you going everybody's just sweating to death right now is what Oh this water is water from your mouth no after this this is gonna be everything that I ate today I'm going to chill for the rest of the evening probably go to bed early because lord help me I did not sleep well last night I was just a little bit excited and thinking about some stuff couldn't quite get in the Z's anyway thank you guys so much for watching it has been a joy to talk about phytates today I hope you all learned so much questions and comments are welcomed down below I will get to those as I'm able and as always make better choices for yourself are you going to the store now no no one will do it for you and take really really good care I'll see you guys very soon why you want you want me to go to this dive do you I do I look like I'm sleepy I don't I go store yeah I mean it's air-conditioned there's that you don't touch me you have you're sweaty I'm not sweaty good I'm touched you you're closely super sweaty I'm not good why does it always focus on you oh stop

I just gave this episode of the rich roll podcast a listen I have to say it was amazing and it made me feel less bad about dropping my spoon in the dirt I'm just trying to get comfortable on my guava tree lounger sorry I got Pig paranoia right now this is not the position I want to meet a pig in