Monday, December 1, 2008

Why Soak Grains?

Hi all,

I thought I would share a little bit about why I soak my grains for 7 - 24 hours in water with a little bit of whey or lemon juice. The reason for soaking is to allow the grain to in a way "pre-digest" so that we may utilize the nutrients more efficiently. This process naturally occurs in some animals that have several stomachs for digesting. Here is an excerpt from the Weston A Price foundation about soaking grains:

” Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of antinutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.

Other antinutrients in whole grains include enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; irritating tannins; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and related hard-to-digest proteins which may cause allergies, digestive disorders and even mental illness.”

The reason for these antinutrients is to preserve the life of the grain. So the main reason for soaking is to make the valuable nutrients more accessible to your body. Among grains you can soak are oats, wheat berries, rye berries, pearl barley, and others. A bonus of soaking is that when you actually are ready to cook your grains, they cook in much less time. For instance oatmeal that may take 35mins to cook regularly will take 5min after soaking. You can also soak your flour the night before making pancakes.

Let me know if you have any questions I can answer. This might be a fun topic for future meetings :)



A and E Downing said...

does the same thing apply to rice?

Emily said...

No, rice, millet and barley actually don't need to be soaked. I think you can soak millet, but you don't have to. It would be neat to find a chart that has the phytate contents of these different grains, it would probably help explain why we should soak some and others aren't that important.


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