Antinutrients are substances found in food that interfere with the digestion and absorption of protein, vitamins, and minerals. All foods contain nutrients; however, particular plant foods, such as grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes, contain substances that operate as a type of defence mechanism and help to protect the plant from illnesses or ingestion by animals and insects.

These substances are classified as phytates, oxalates, and lectins. Phytates are an antinutrient found in legumes, nuts, and seeds; lectins can be found in grains, legumes, and vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes; and spinach, rice, bran, rhubarb, almonds, and wheat all contain oxalates. Spinach, which provides calcium, also includes oxalate. The oxalate inhibits calcium absorption in your body. This is why it is advisable to eat spinach cooked rather than raw, as the heating process breaks down up to 50% of the oxalate.

Lectins (gluten is a type of lectin) are thought to have an important role in leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune illness. Wheat lectins are one of the most commonly rheumatoid arthritis causes. Our tolerance for antinutrients differs from person to person. While one person may benefit greatly from eliminating all oxalate from their diet, another may feel better merely by properly cooking oxalate foods.

Although most plant meals include anti-nutrients, they are safe to consume when properly cooked. In reality, several anti-nutrients have been demonstrated to provide health benefits: phytates, for example, have been discovered to decrease cholesterol, slow digestion, and prevent rapid blood sugar spikes. Furthermore, most anti-nutrients can be eliminated or deactivated before consumption by soaking, sprouting, or boiling, and some traditional techniques of preparation, such as fermenting, have been demonstrated to boost nutritional content.

Before ingesting the three main families of antinutrients, three steps must be taken: soaking, sprouting, and fermenting.

  1. Soaking: Soaking is required for beans, legumes, and seeds. Allowing them to soak overnight can reduce the number of antinutrients in them by up to 50%.
  2. Sprouting: Sprouting is required for seeds, nuts, beans, legumes, and some grains. Rinse them and store them in a glass jar and sprouting vessel away from direct sunlight for 8-12 hours, or until sprouts form. This can lower antinutrients by up to 81%.
  3. Fermenting: Fermentation is required for beans, legumes, and seeds. They can be soaked at room temperature for up to 88% reduction in antinutrients.