It is interesting to note that while we try to eat nutritious food to keep ourselves healthy, there are substances in the food itself or the environment that could interfere with the optimal absorption and utilization of nutrients or may even promote their excretion from our body. These substances are called antinutrients and they may also affect how much energy is harnessed from the food we eat.
There are numerous antinutrients around us that constantly challenge our biological system. Some examples of antinutrients are chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, processed food, refined foods, food additives, phytates, lectins, and oxalates. If our body cannot properly excrete or detoxify the overload of antinutrients that accumulate in our body, various health problems can arise. Those with poor detox function, young children, the elderly and those overly stressed individuals are more susceptible to accumulation of toxins than the average healthy adult.
Here are some ways of minimizing antinutrient intake:
- Drink good quality filtered water or mineral water
- Buy organic produce as much as you can
- Purchase organic poultry and eggs from free-range chickens
- Eat a diverse diet of whole foods
- Cook whole grains, legumes and cruciferous vegetables
- Consume more raw food, steam-fry or boil food rather than cooking it at high temperature
- Use additive-free nutritional supplements
- Take additional antioxidant nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium to help minimize chemical sensitivities
- Avoid processed foods especially those that contain highly refined ingredients
- Decrease or avoid altogether food additives like preservatives, artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners
- Avoid meats that are chemically treated with antibiotics, hormones and preservatives
- Drink less soda
- Reduce sugar intake
- Avoid deep frying food and overcooking vegetables
- Minimize barbecuing, broiling with gas, and microwaving food
- If wrapping food with plastic, make sure it is labeled “non-PVC”
- Have a good exercise program in place
- Create ways to manage stress
- Talk to your doctor about more viable and safer options to treat a health problem as some drugs may cause a decrease of nutrient absorption and could trigger allergies or encourage unfriendly bacteria to multiply
Because of our biochemical differences, the ability to digest, absorb and assimilate nutrients varies widely. Thus, antinutrients will also affect each person in differing degrees. Our genetic, environment, lifestyle, diet, food allergies, nutritional goals and physical condition are some factors that could affect how our level of tolerance to antinutrients will be, and what diseases we could be susceptible to.