Anti-nutrients have been a hot topic of discussion during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are something that blocks or interferes in the body while nutrients are absorbed. They commonly interfere in the absorption of calcium, iron, potassium magnesium and zinc.
The best examples are from the plants which develop these anti-nutrients as a self defence mechanism from being eaten. This helps the future seedlings sustenance. The anti-nutrients also help in blocking or being digested, thus when they come out with faeces, they help the seeds to germinate.
In our common food, we find these anti-nutrients mostly in whole grains and legumes.
Benefits To Body
Anti-nutrients are the main backbones of nutraceuticals and have lots of benefits to the body when their intake is in the right dosage.
Saponins which are found in legumes help in boosting the immune system, thereby reducing cholesterol and blood sugar. This also reduces chances of kidney stones and blood clotting.
Curb Cardiovascular Diseases
Lectins, which are found in cereal grains and legumes, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.
Battle Bacteria & Virus
Tannins in teas, coffees, meats and cheese are anti-nutrients that help in fighting bacteria, virus, fungi and yeast, while decreasing cholesterol and blood pressure as well.
Fight Cancer Cells
Phytates in wheat, barley, rice and corn prohibit the growth of cancer cells and retard them from spreading. Phytates have antioxidants properties which help in shrinking the cancerous cells. Phytates along with glucosinates, which are found in cauliflowers, restrict the growth of tumour cells and inflammation.
No Oxalates Please
Oxalates that are found in beets, berries, cranberries, oranges, chocolate, tofu soda, tea, beer, dark green vegetables and sweet potatoes are a no as these are bad for the kidney and raise the possibility of stone formation in the vital organs of the body.
Right Amount Must
Anti-nutrients actually help the body to develop immunity but it is a concern if taken in high amounts. Vegetarians and vegans have the advantage as they reduce cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and varied types of cancer.
However, they need to take some steps. For instance, the intake of Vitamin C should be high along with high iron and zinc foods. Soak the legumes for a longer period of time (overnight) before cooking. Dairy and milk products should be fortified with calcium. Multi vitamin and mineral supplement should be a daily affair. But the doctor’s recommendation is a must.