No Need To Soak Your Oats
Posted by terrepruitt on April 3, 2012
All in the quest for something quick and easy to eat before I teach my Nia classes . . . . I am on my sixth oat post. The last post was about why some people believe we need to soak our oats before eating them. This post is about why some people believe we should not bother soaking our oats before eating them and even a little bit about we should not soak the oats before eating them.
One of my favorites sites wrote up information from the point of view of “I”, so I am thinking that it is George Mateljan’s point of view since he is the founder of The George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods. He says he doesn’t even consider oats to be particularly high in phytic acid. Given that the phytic acid is in the outer layers his belief is that cooking reduces the levels of it. He states that studies have shown that absorption rates of zinc and copper do not get much higher when ALL the phytic acid is removed and in an average kitchen not all of the acid will be removed so soaking is not really contributing that much to the grains nutrition.
I’ve seen articles call phytic acid the “antinutrient”, but in fact it contains antioxidant properties along with a phosphorus (mineral) and inositol (Inositol is a key B vitamin necessary for the metabolism of fat and cholesterol.). Dr. McDougall stated in one of his newsletters:
“It acts as a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to reduce blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides. Phytic acid is linked to a reduction in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases in people.”
The Oxford Food & Fitness Dictionary states: “There is some evidence that those who regularly eat high fibre diets adapt to the high phytic acid content by secreting an enzyme which can break phytic acid down into inositol and phosphorus.”
And the Wiley Dictionary of Flavors in regards to Phytic Acid states: “An acid found in grains that would normally block the absorption of calcium in the body. However, phytase is present in most of these grains and allows for the hydrolysis of phytic acid by the body as well, nullifying the effect.”
Everything I’ve read seems to agree that phytic acid can bind with minerals and keep the body from absorbing them. But nothing states that it happens to ALL of the minerals, nothing states that it happens all the time, and nothing states that it happens in every BODY. Also some people and research believe that it is a GOOD thing that phytic acid binds to minerals because it helps remove toxins that are in the body. So it could be that a portion of it DOES keep the body from absorbing minerals but the other portion takes out some bad metals and toxins in the body.
Another site states a study, from the Journal of Nutrition, showed that phytic acid stimulates the production of phytase in the gut. Phytase activity increased the absorption of some minerals.
One study states that while this type of activity might interfere with the absorption of minerals it “may protect against the development of colonic carcinoma” when left undigested in the colon. Research is showing that phytic acid “is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers”.
Many people stated that with a healthy diet there isn’t really a threat of malnutrition from lack of minerals and bone loss because we do eat other foods that supply us with minerals.
The more I look the more I see the subject being very controversial. Yet, I see many sources stating why it is not necessarily necessary, it seems the only reference I see stating that it is necessary is Nourishing Traditions.
My posts are obviously not here to tell you what to do. They are here to share with you what I have learned, what I have found. I have found two different sides to the story (well, that is excluding the sides that say we shouldn’t eat grain at all, and the side that says we should eat more grain).
Since it seems as if there are benefits to soaking and benefits to not soaking, I would say soak your oats and see how that works for you. If you sense that they are more easy to digest and you have the time and forethought to do it, then do it. Why not? But if you don’t sense a difference and/or you don’t have the time and forethought, I would think that you would be receiving the mineral binding toxic eliminating benefit. Basically like EVERYTHING else, it is up to you. There is always going to be information saying the opposite things, so we need to research it and then do what we think, what we feel, what we sense is best for us.
So, what do you think? Do you think it is necessary to soak oats?