Soak it, sprout it, ferment it: Get more minerals out of your high phytic-acid food


You can increase your absorption of calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium by 100% (and perhaps even upwards of 1000% in some cases) by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting your grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These food items contain high levels of phytic acid. Phytic acid keeps minerals tightly bound in your intestines. You cannot digest them and, thereby, you cannot use them to build a healthy body.

Quick changes in your kitchen will help you improve your health and, frankly, will help your food taste better at the same time. Better yet, these techniques are absolutely free, making them a great addition to Pennywise Platter this week.

Your benefits:

  • Better flavor
  • Improved nutritional value

However, the devil’s in the details.

  • What do you soak? For how long?
  • What do you ferment?
  • Is sprouting really better (because, gosh, it’s a lot of work)?
  • What about rice?
  • What about soy?

The most extensive collection of phytic acid information on the Internet is archived by your intrepid blogger at a new website At that website, you can buy the extensive phytic acid paper.

6 Responses to Soak it, sprout it, ferment it: Get more minerals out of your high phytic-acid food
  1. Amanda – does your phytic acid paper address the arguments made in favor of phytic acid? That isn’t really an anti-nutrient, but essential for preventing things like colon cancer?
    I’ve always struggled a bit to answer questions like that.

  2. I don’t address it in the paper but I should. I’ll post on the issue here in the next week or so. Thanks!

  3. Of course I haven’t read my ecourse yet, but I’ll get around to it. It wasn’t until I learned about Phytic Acid from you a couple years ago that I was once again able to eat grains. I’m so grateful for the knowledge. I’ve yet to master sourdough of my own. Are you strictly a whole wheat gal or do you also use white (paste) flour? Although I love sourdough bread….I find that it puts the pounds on me and I hate that.
    I’ve finished your Rebuild book. I put it aside for a while bc your story caused me too much pain in remembering my own postpartum years of depression (I’d pick rocking my baby too!)….now I need to write a review on my blog. I recommend your book everywhere to anyone. It’s full of important information for everyone! Nutrition is everything!

  4. martin

    I have read article regarding the phytic acid food.I like post very much as it contain informative in nature.I’ve finished your Rebuild book.I know that You can increase your absorption of calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium by 100% (and perhaps even upwards of 1000% in some cases) by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting your grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
    I want to know suggestion from other user.

  5. Thanks for the prod, Martin. I have intended to respond to this since Jenny’s question and haven’t, so I’ll address it briefly for now.
    The anti-cancer properties of phytic acid are not that well known, but it does seem effective in the case of colon cancer. In the colon it is going to bind to minerals like iron and copper. That may be a very good thing depending the stage of your life cycle.
    It may also work more generally to reduce your body’s mineral load, particularly in the case of iron. Men and postmenopausal women (and people with specific medical conditions) could get too much iron. Phytic acid could be a good thing for them in reducing their absorption of iron.
    It is being used as topical sprays on meat to reduce carcinogens. In this case, it’s good — meat is rich in so many minerals, it isn’t going affect your nutrient load.
    Stepping back on all of this, we really need to be mindful of our individual circumstances. If you are iron anemic or borderline and especially if you eat little or no meat, reducing phytic acid in your diet is probably going to make a big difference for you. If you eat a lot of red meat anyway, you really don’t need that extra iron or zinc that is locked up in the bran of wheat or spelt.
    Increasingly we are following the steps in reducing phytic acid not so much because we need more dietary zinc but because the processes are simple and we do feel like we digest grain better. (I should add here that we don’t use any “soaked flour” recipes — they are all easy sourdough techniques that create better tasting food in an easy manner.)

  6. Kimmy.K

    Amanda – I have your 26 Topic Study concerning Phytic Acid. Wonderful information… I am grateful!
    I stopped making homemade bread a few years ago, but now I am about to begin making homemade bread again. I have a grain mill and will be using organic white wheat berries.
    First of all, I purchased a highly recommended, and very popular book called “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes” which teaches the merits of a no-knead technique, which allows bread to ferment (with sourdough) in the frig. over several days.
    The dough lives in frig. and you take out only the amount needed to bake fresh daily. Then you, basically, add flour back to the refrigerated dough mix to keep it full and replenished. It seems that this type of “long” fermentation, with sourdough mixed in, would work well to decrease the Phytate content. Do you think the no-knead, long fermentaion/refigerator rising time would be bad for any reason?
    Also, from various sources I have read about soaking grains before use to release dormant nutrient power. Although I weary at the thought that all of the soaked grain has to be sprouted and then dried before being ground into flour; for bread-making, here is what I was thinking of doing :
    1. Soak whole wheat berries about 12 hours
    2. spread soaked wheat berries between wet paper towels until tiny 1/4″ sprouts appear
    3. use my dehydrator to dry the sprouted berries(at low temp.)
    4. grind the dried wheat berries into flour
    5. follow directions in “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes” book, for ingredients to be put in container in frig. with sourdough mix.
    6. Throughout the week, take dough out as needed to bake fresh bread.
    7. As dough in frig. starts to get used up, I would add more sprouted, dried, flour back into the container… where small amount of previous sourdough stil actively lives and will ferment the new added flour
    For bread, considering the refrigerated, long ferment time technique mentioned in the Artisan Bread book, the Artisan book refers to never really having to wash out the dough container, but to keep a portion of sourdough continualy alive in it and just add flour as needed. Will the fact that the flour is “sprouted” affect this technique?… are there elements in the “green” sprout that will deteriorate, rot, or diminsh the sourdough using this long term type of continual-replenished storage technique?
    I have been asking myself, should I just have sprouts in my salads and forget about adding them in the bread? … and just soak, dry and grind wheat berries into fresh flour without any sprouting involved? But, if the sprouted, dried, ground flour so much better as to make it worth the extra work, I just wonder, will the grain being sprouted affect the refrigerator technique?
    Thank you for all of the work you have done in understanding these issues and for sharing this information with so many people. ~ Kimmy.K

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL