This is probably the most well-known antinutrient that’s found in grains and legumes (legumes are ones that come from a pod, i.e. beans).  Phytic Acid interferes with the absorption of minerals in your body. It can unfortunately lock up high percentages of phosphorus, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Some research shows that up 80% of phosphorous found in high-phosphorus foods like pumpkin or sunflower seeds, along with 80% of zinc found in high-zinc foods like cashews and chickpeas, might be blocked by phytate. The same can be said for about 40% of magnesium-rich foods.

Phytates interfere with calcium and iron absorption, which raises the risk for problems like anemia (which emanates from an iron deficiency) and bone loss. Another very problematic component to phytic acid is that it inhibits certain essential digestive enzymes called amylase, trypsin and pepsin. Amylase breaks down starch, while both pepsin and trypsin are needed to break down protein.

On the other hand, eating foods rich in vitamin C, like leafy green vegetables or citrus fruits, can counteract phytate and increase iron absorption. And foods rich in vitamin A like sweet potatoes or berries can also help improve iron absorption.  Eating Sourdough bread or sprouted grains are much better options than whole wheat or white bread because those processes break down the damaging phytic acid. Read more about antinutrients at