What Are Antinutrients and Should You Avoid Them?

The word antinutrient sounds, right off the bat, like something you want to avoid. Without any context, it sounds like a poison. But it’s the scientific term for a compound that lessens the body’s absorption of nutrients like minerals and vitamins. You can find guides on how to remove antinutrients from your foods all over the internet. However, the majority of antinutrients found in vegetables are destroyed when they are cooked. The need to strip foods of antinutrients is nullified by just cooking them. Moreover, antinutrients aren’t what they might appear to be at first glance, and you might not want to remove them from your diet at all.

Antinutrients do not block out all the vitamins and minerals from foods. If you are a generally healthy person, some antinutrients won’t harm you. If you are unwell, a doctor can tell you what foods to avoid. For instance, people with osteoporosis or anemia may wish to avoid foods with antinutrients that can lead to less absorption of calcium or iron.

For most people, a balanced diet matters far more than avoiding a class of compounds found in many beneficial foods. In fact, the antinutrients found in broccoli, kale and cabbage are responsible for the vegetables’ ability to protect the body from cancer. The antinutrients found in grains, legumes and nuts can lower cholesterol, help keep blood sugar steady and slow digestion. The antinutrients found in tea, coffee and legumes, have antimicrobial properties that keep food fresher for longer, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

The beneficial nutrients of plant-based foods far outweigh the negative effects,” says Brittany Michels, a Registered Dietitian who works for The Vitamin Shoppe.

You would have to eat an awful lot of foods with antinutrients to make an impact on your body’s health if you aren’t ill. Just because there is a negative aspect to a compound doesn’t necessarily mean the presence of the compound in a food is a bad thing. You shouldn’t stop eating leafy greens, beans or whole grains. What you should do is enjoy all sorts of foods in moderation! Speak to your health care professional about the best diet for you and don’t let buzzwords like antinutrient get you worried until you have researched the topic and know your facts! The prefix “anti-” can make us steer clear of certain things, for the sake of our health, but nutritionists are telling us to make healthy foods with antinutrients part of our diets.
July 03, 2019
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