Phytic acid is a natural antioxidant that is mainly found in plant seeds. It serves as the main form of storage for phosphorus in the seeds. Recently, studies have shown health benefits, as well, such as prevention and treatment of some conditions, including cancer. In this article, phytic acid foods and its benefits will be discussed.
Foods With Phytic Acid
The highest concentrations of phytic acid are found in raw and unprocessed plant-based foods.
If your diet lacks nutrition or you have an iron or zinc deficiency, you should reduce the amount of phytic acid you consume.
Here are four foods high in phytic acid:
Most beans and legumes contain a high amount of phytic acid. However, studies have shown that soaking beans before eating them significantly reduces their phytate levels.
When a plant is ripening, phytate rapidly accumulates in its seeds. Phytic acid is found in sesame seeds, linseeds, and sunflower seeds.
Nuts naturally contain a high amount of phytic acid. The process of “activating” nuts by soaking them in water and then dehydrating them at a low temperature breaks down some of the phytic acid.
However, many people think this laborious process is not worth the end result, as it gets rid of only a small amount of phytates.
Grains contain phytic acid, but only if they haven’t been processed. Whole grains also contain lectins and saponins, which are two more anti-nutrients. However, products made with processed grains contain fewer healthy nutrients.
Benefits of phytic Acid
Foods containing phytic acid are nutrient-dense, overall. For most people, these foods are important to include in a healthy and well-balanced diet. Some of the benefits are :
Protect against Cancer
Studies have shown phytic acid may protect against certain cancers. Phytic acid may be particularly protective against colon cancer by suppressing oxidative damage to intestinal cells.
Studies have shown that phytate consumption appears to have a protective effect against osteoporosis. Studying postmenopausal women, those with lower amounts of urinary phytate (indicating less in the diet) were at higher risk of bone loss and hip fracture than women with higher urinary phytate (indicating more in the diet)
Phytic acid was found to decrease the inflammatory cytokines IL-8 and IL-6, especially in colon cells.
It is an Antioxidant
The anti-oxidative action of phytic acid is as a result of inhibiting Xanthine Oxidase and by ‘preventing a formation of ADP-iron-oxygen complexes’ It was also able to protect DNA from free radicals.
It was found that phytic acid can enter cells and help DNA repairs breaks in the strands. This is a potential mechanism by which phytate prevents cancer