By Sarah Kottmann, Natures Happiness.

If you are moving to or thinking of eating plant-based makes sure you know about phytate so that you are able to combine food well and not cause unnecessary deficiencies. This is where most people who go vegan or plant-based go wrong, and they wonder why they feel worse. It comes down to the food you eat and how you combine your food to get the right nutrition. 

Phytate or phytic acid is found in plant seeds and can inhibit calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc absorption. However, it is also the primary form of phosphorus once the seed is sprouted. Phytates are found in nuts, grains and legumes. It only affects the absorption for the meal you are having, not for meals after that meal. 

For example: Snacking on nuts between meals is not a problem, but your meal may reduce the absorption of zinc, calcium and iron.

37-66% degraded in the stomach and small intestine and bind the mineral in the small intestine before they can be absorbed. 

There are ways you can reduce the phytate in the grains, legumes and seeds. 

Heat: Reduce a small amount of phytate. 

Soak: Soak legumes overnight before you use them; this can reduce.

Sprouted: Sprout seed, grains and legumes. These are found as bread to purchase and as an ingredient in some foods. 

Fermentation: Lactic acid fermentation, such as sourdough, reduce phytate. Some acid produced during this process can also support mineral absorption. 

Adding vitamin C: One study suggests adding 50mg of vitamin C counteract the phytate in that meal. Eat food with vitamin C such as kiwi fruit, bell peppers, orange, strawberries, and cauliflower. 

Gut health: Low PH in the gut help with iron absorption and having balanced good bacteria in the gut.  

Add vinegar in the dressing to enhance mineral absorption. 

Phytic acid is also beneficial for our health as it is an antioxidant that may protect kidney stones; cancer such as colon cancer again. It does this by binding the free radical and has also been seen to bind heavy metals like lead and cadmium. It is even very beneficial for those who have hemochromatosis (high iron stores).

It is said that those on a meat-based diet have less occurrence of this problem; however with the overall gut health these days I find mineral deficiencies most common in those eating meat. It comes down to what we eat and how healthy our digestive systems are to process the food and get what we need from it.