Cooking with grains

In order to reap the fullest nutritional content that grains have to offer, they first have to be properly prepared. Most grains and legumes (Beans, etc.) contain phytic acid, which prevents them from sprouting before growing conditions are ideal. Ever notice how wheat can be stored for years without spoiling? This is because the seeds are dormant. In order to activate them and release the vitamins, they need to be soaked, sprouted or fermented.

If not properly prepared, grains can actually cause nutritional deficiencies because the phytic acid in the grain will pull out minerals from the body.

When preparing grains, keep in mind:

-Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down phytic acid. Some grains contain more of it, such as buckwheat, wheat, rye and spelt. Brown rice and oats are low in phytase, so mix a phytase-rich grains with these to help break down the phytic acid.

-Grinding flours fresh maximizes phytase, so phytic acid is broken down easier.

-Sprouting also increases phytase.

-When lime is added to corn, a process called nixtamilization, it increases the absorbability of the nutrients.

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