Antinutrients are present in most of the foods that we consume regularly. These plant compounds reduce the ability of your body to absorb the essential nutrients. Phytate, tannins, lectins, calcium oxalate, and protease inhibitors, etc. are some of the antinutrients that are present in the foods that we include in our plant-based meal. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to reduce the number of antinutrients in your foods.
You Have To Soak Them
It is often recommended to soak beans and legumes in water overnight to reduce the antinutrients in them and improve their nutritional value. A significant amount of antinutrients in the food is present in the skin and when the food is soaked in water, a significant amount of antinutrients get dissolved because most of them are water-soluble.
It was found that soaking helps reduce the amount of phytate, protease, lectins, inhibitors, and tannins in legumes. Soaking legumes in water for about 12 hours could reduce the phytate content by 9%. A recent study has shown that soaking pigeon peas for about 6-18 hours will reduce the lectins by 38-50%. However, soaking only barely reduces the number of antinutrients in some legumes, such as faba beans, soybeans, and kidney beans, etc.
Fermentation is also a great way to reduce the antinutrient content in plant-based food. The fermentation process occurs when the bacteria or yeasts start to digest the carbs present in your food. This method was originally used for food preservation. Cheese, wine, coffee, cocoa, and soy sauce, etc. are some of the foods that are processed by fermentation.
Sprouting is a natural process in which the plant starts to emerge from the seeds. This is the process in a plant’s life cycle that increases its nutritional availability. We can initiate sprouting with a few simple steps. First, remove all the dirt, soil, and debris from the seeds by rinsing them and soak them for about 10-12 hours in water. After that drain the water and place the seeds in a sprouter and then rinse and drain them 3-4 times. Sprouting can effectively reduce the phytate content in some varieties of grains by 37-81%.
Boiling Might Help
It was found that boiling can help in reducing the antinutrients tannins, lectins, and protease inhibitors, effectively. A recent study revealed that 80 minutes of boiling will help reduce the lectin and tannin content in pigeon peas by 79% and 69% respectively. Some foods might need to be cooked for a longer time to reduce the antinutrient content.