While grains, nuts, beans, and seeds are generally health promoting foods for most people, certain grains can be a major cause of inflammation. As you may already be aware, chronic inflammation is often the root cause of weight gain, digestive issues, skin problems, thyroid issues, and autoimmune disease. So how can we know whether grains are promoting health or inflammation in our bodies?
“Gluten-free” has become somewhat of a buzz word, but what exactly is gluten? From the Latin for “glue”, gluten is a sticky protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grains. For those with sensitivity to gluten, the body’s response to its presence damages the intestinal lining. This inhibits the absorption of nutrients and can lead to a condition called “leaky gut,” whereby partially undigested food particles and toxins leak into the system, causing further inflammation.
The reason why some people don’t tolerate even gluten-free grains well is that all grains, nuts, beans, and seeds (including flax and chia) contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is a compound that comes from the phosphorous found in plants. Too much phytic acid can inhibit the thyroid, hamper digestion, and leach vital minerals from the body, such as zinc and iron.
Phytic acid also interferes with the natural enzymes your body needs to digest your food. If you are not digesting a certain food properly, your gastrointestinal system cannot function well.
You can minimise the quantity of phytic acid in your diet by following these guidelines:
1. CHOOSE ONLY GLUTEN-FREE SEEDS AND GRAIN.
The following carbohydrates, technically considered seeds, are good choices, as they are easier to digest than grain. Just bear in mind that they may still cause an inflammatory response in those with compromised digestion or immunity.
You can also try the following grains and see how your body reacts:
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Gluten-free oats
2. SOAK YOUR GRAINS AND SEEDS TO REDUCE THE PHYTIC ACID AND IMPROVE DIGESTIBILITY.
How to soak grains, beans, seeds, and nuts:
- Add the grains, beans, seeds, or nuts to a bowl of warm or room temperature water.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice or Bragg’s raw apple
- cider vinegar.
- Soak the grains, beans, seeds, or nuts for 12-24 hours.
- Leave the bowl sitting on your countertop.
- Empty the grains, beans, seeds, or nuts into a colander, and rinse
- at least 6 times to remove any remaining phytic acid.
- Cook the grains, seeds, or beans as usual, or store the seeds or nuts in your fridge for 1-2 days.