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Dietitian answered whether nuts inhibit absorption of calcium and iron in body

Dietitian answered whether nuts inhibit absorption of calcium and iron in body What you need to know about nuts (photo: Freepik)

Nuts are undeniably a nutritious food that enriches the body with various essential nutrients. However, they also contain phytates, which can hinder the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium, according to nutritionist Halyna Senyk.

What you need to know about nuts

"Have you heard from some experts that nuts and seeds should be soaked? I received this question from a colleague, so I want to clarify this issue. Nuts contain phytic acid, which supposedly blocks the absorption of micronutrients, so it is necessary to soak nuts. Yes, it is present in legumes and grains as well. It protects the seeds from damage – that is important," says a dietitian.

Senyk explains that phytates can indeed reduce the absorption of certain micronutrients, such as iron, calcium, and zinc, but only in large quantities.

"One could even say that this is an indirect protection against kidney stones. Moreover, phytates are capable of binding toxic metals, which is important for our body, and in small quantities, phytic acid serves as a necessary antioxidant. Everything in life is useful in moderation and vice versa," adds the doctor.

At the same time, she notes that legumes and grains should be soaked to reduce phytates.

"Because we eat them often and in large quantities. Soaking will also help cook them faster. However, soaking nuts and seeds makes no sense. We don't eat them in kilograms, so the level of phytates is negligible. The benefit of nuts far outweighs the 'risk,'" says Senyk.

She also adds that research shows soaking nuts reduces phytate levels by only 12%, and the increase in the availability of micronutrients is around 10%. But in reality, this is not significant, and you won't notice it.

Facts to know about nuts:

  • soaked almonds increase phytates
  • soaked walnuts lose calcium and zinc
  • soaked peanuts have slightly more zinc, while unsoaked peanuts have more iron
  • the content of essential B-group vitamins decreases with prolonged soaking because they are water-soluble
  • therefore, eat nuts calmly and don't complicate your life with soaking. They are a unique natural superfood ready for consumption.

Recommendations to follow:

  • nuts should be dry, clean, and free of mold
  • the fiber in nuts and fats can reduce bad cholesterol
  • feel free to add them to salads, porridge, and pasta - it's very tasty. They can also be eaten as a snack
  • the daily portion of nuts fits in your fist - 10-20 grams

"Of course, no one prohibits soaking and drying nuts if you have plenty of time. But science has not justified this," emphasizes Senyk.

Also, read about what time you should have breakfast and dinner to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Earlier, we wrote about why purple vegetables and fruits should be a part of your diet.