(NaturalNews) For many, improperly prepared grains can cause a variety of health issues ranging from digestive upset to serious malabsorption and deficiency. The problem is not necessarily the grain itself, but how it is handled before consumption. Through soaking, sprouting, and fermentation, this potentially harmful food is transformed into highly digestible and nutritious fare.
All grains contain phytic-acid which binds to minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. In order to liberate these minerals for trouble-free absorption within the body, the enzyme phytase is needed. Since humans are unable to manufacture phytase, it needs to be activated within the grain to neutralize the phytic-acid. Grains that contain high levels of phytase include wheat, rye, and buckwheat. It is vital to source whole grains that have not been exposed to high temperatures since heat destroys enzymes. When grains are not correctly prepared, crucial minerals are blocked and leached out of the body by phytic-acid, leading to deficiencies that foster poor health, dental problems, and weak bone structure.
Enzyme inhibitors are also problematic. As a mechanism to prevent untimely sprouting, enzyme inhibitors are an important, protective element in grains but can be troublesome for people. If not neutralized, enzyme inhibitors hinder digestion. This places stress on the pancreas, causes malabsorption of nutrients, and contributes to food sensitivities.
Consuming grains in a healthful way
Investing time and care in the preparation of grains is rewarded with enhanced digestion and nutrient absorption. Soaking whole grains in water overnight is the first step in deactivating the enzyme inhibitors and triggering the phytase that nullifies phytic-acid. Second, the grain is sprouted for several days until the small 'tail' of the plant emerges. At this point, the grain is dehydrated at a low-temperature then ground into flour. Next, fermentation
. This process dramatically reduces phytic-acid content, allowing for improved absorption of nutrients. Two types of fermentation can be used. One method utilizes mixing small amounts of an acidic medium, such as unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, yogurt, or kefir, with water and the sprouted grain flour. The second technique simply combines purified water with flour. Natural yeasts present on the grain and in the air are activated through this process which encourages fermentation. With both options, the flour mixture is covered with a towel and set in a warm place to rest for 24-48 hours. The fermented dough is now ready for baking.
By following a few fundamental steps to minimize the harmful substances in grains, ease of digestion
can be enjoyed along with increased bioavailability of important nutrients that support overall health.Sources for this article include:
"Soaked-sprouted-fermented-grains" Marks Daily Apple. Retrieved on June 20, 2012 from: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/soaked-sprouted-fermented-grains/
"Soaking Grains, Soaking Flour Optimizes Health" Health Banquet. Retrieved on June 20, 2012 from: http://www.healthbanquet.com/soaking-grains.htmlAbout the author:
Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net,
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