Grains, legumes, nuts and seeds (GNSL) contain Antinutrients
What are antinutrients? - substances in natural food generated by the normal metabolism of species and by mechanisms such as inactivation of nutrients or reduction in the digestive process. Whether a substance is an antinutrient depends on the digestive system of its ingester. E.g. ruminants can digest trypsin inhibitors and phytates without adverse consequences, humans cannot.
Antinutrients are nature's way of protecting seeds against insects, mold and fungus, and maintaining seed freshness until conditions are right for them to germinate and grow – GNSLs should be properly prepared to reduce the following anti-nutrients:
✔ Phytate –“Malabsorption Agent” - mainly in grains, nuts, seeds and leegumes, reduces mineral absorption, including magnesium, calcium, magnesium and zinc;
✔ Enzyme inhibitors – in most beans, especially protease inhibitors such as trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitors, which inhibit GI tract proteolytic enzymes and thus affect protein metabolism; induces pancreatic hyperactivity
✔ Lectins – in most grocery store cow's milk (A1 casein) and all food plants, especially grains, legumes, nuts and seeds; can cause serious inflammatory problems and may be implicated in weight gain; Gluten is perhaps the most renowned lectin
✔ Goitrogens – E.g. in soybeans, groundnuts; cause thyroid gland enlargement
✔ Tannins - a class of antioxidant polyphenols that may interefere with digestion of various nutrients;
✔ Oxylates - bound to oxalates, some minerals are poorly absorbed E.g. calcium oxalate, primary form of calcium in vegetables, can reduce calcium absorption in uncooked spinach; Reference
✔ Complex sugars – indigestible by human metabolism.
Grains also inherently contain mycotoxins:
– Produced by fungus during growth – prevalent in corn and wheat, and also present in barley, sorghum, peanuts, rye, and cottonseed.
– Neurotoxic – can damage brain and nerves, causing neurological dysfunction, such as in M.S., Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.
Antinutrients can Cause Health Problems if not properly prepared
Improperly prepared whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, and fractionated grain products (E.g. bran, wheat germ, naked starch) cause GI tract problems - E.g. irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, colitis, colon cancer, mental disorders associated with celiac disease and many other health problems, due to their containing anti-nutrients:
If consumed in quantity on a regular basis, phytates, lectins and other anti-nutrients must be removed or reduced in foods containing them
Most marketed grains, nuts, seeds and legumes or products containing them are not properly prepared and are unfit for regular consumption.
✔ Refined products - E.g. pastries, cake, cookies, crackers, bread, pasta, cereal, noodles, potato chips, pretzels, tacos, waffles, pancakes, muffins, nuts, nut butters, etc.
✔ Whole grains and bran – also need proper preparation, especially bran, which contains particularly high phytate levels