How to Avoid Toxicity and Anti-Nutrients in the Standard Diet

Our bodies respond to toxicity in foods

by creating visceral belly fat.

The good news is that this toxicity can be neutralized

with proper food preparation.


Common knowledge is that food contains a variety of nutrients. A lesser-known fact is that many foods perceived as being healthy have toxicity. These toxic substances found in foods are known as anti-nutrients.

In most cases, the food contains the “anti-nutrient” in order to assure the continued lifecycle of the plant.

For example, grains – which must be able to sprout in an appropriate environment to continue the grain’s lifecycle – contain anti-nutrients. Grains protect themselves from predators by being armed with toxic proteins in the form of enzyme-blockers and lectins. These enzyme-blockers disrupt the predator’s digestive enzymes discouraging the bird or animal from eating further grain meals.

(This article is written by Jim Harris ~ Jim is a Naturopath and graduate from the American Naturopathic Medical Institute; he recognizes that our bodies have the innate capability for self-healing — especially when the correct information and energy is supplied in combination with the correct food, supplements and herbs.)

How to Detox Your Body by Eating Better-Prepared Grains

When we humans eat poorly prepared grains, our bodies respond to those anti-nutrients by creating visceral belly fat. Yes, our bodies often create extra belly fat in order to pad and protect our vital organs from toxicity!

You can detox your body by being careful of what grains you eat.

You can detox your body by being careful of what grains you eat.

The enzyme blockers also act as preservatives for the grain until the grain sprouts at which time most of the enzyme blockers disappear.

We know that lectins are toxic proteins which also act as natural pesticides for the grains, protecting them from bacteria, fungi, insects, worms and rodents. However, most people not aware of the negative toxic effects of unprepared grains to their personal health.

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Improve Your Nutritional Health by Preparing Your Foods

Grains, beans and legumes including soy are full of enzyme blockers and lectins. Potatoes contain not only enzyme blockers and lectins but also a group of toxins known as glycoalkaloids. This group of toxins are collectively known as anti-nutrients.

Lectins and enzyme blockers are mostly neutralized by sprouting or fermentation and sometimes the cooking process (cooking however does nothing to alter the toxic effects of the glycoalkaloids in potatoes).

"my grandmother always told me 'you are what you eat' and for me those words from her wisdom never get old as I am constantly reminded of the benefits of eating the correct foods with proper preparation"

The glycoalkaloids are particularly concentrated in green and injured potatoes which should be avoided and eating raw potatoes is something that is strongly discouraged.

Some enzyme blockers disrupt the body’s natural protein digestive enzymes including the enzyme pepsin in our stomachs, and trypsin and chymotrepsin in our small intestines. Others block the effects of the enzyme amylase for the digestion of starch. With the blocking of these enzyme functions, the digestive process is altered and the absorption and uptake of essential nutrients from our food is disrupted; thus the name anti-nutrients.

Toxicity in foods can create digestive duress.

Toxicity in foods can create digestive duress.

Additionally, lectins can have devastating effects on our cells by tricking them into doing things they normally would not do. Lectins can be responsible for removing protective mucous from tissue, damaging the cell lining of our intestines, stimulating cells to secrete hormones, causing pancreatic enlargement and much more. Lectins may even be responsible for tricking our immune systems into attacking ourselves as seen in the auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, as examples.

My message for today is to either avoid the foods containing enzyme blockers, lectins and glycoalkaloids or learn how to properly prepare foods to neutralize the negative effects of antinutrients.

Soak Your Grains

As I mentioned above, sprouting and fermentation helps to reduce the negative effects of enzyme blockers and lectins.

Additionally, you can soak your grains to:

  • deactivate the enzyme inhibitors
  • deactivate phytic acid which blocks the absorption of minerals including copper, magnesium and zinc
  • neutralize tannins and lectins which are gut irritants
  • begin the breakdown of gluten which is a non-digestible protein and toxin
  • initiate the breakdown of cellulose which otherwise is non-digestible

Proper preparation makes seeds, grains and nuts more readily digestible, making their nutrients more readily available for assimilation. 

As a general rule, I try to eat less grains – and more fresh vegetables instead. However, on those occasions when I do have grains, it's better if I prepare them myself. Fortunately, the health food stores are now carrying more food products – such as granola – that are sprouted grains, nuts and seeds.

My grandmother always told me “you are what you eat” and for me those words from her wisdom never get old as I am constantly reminded of the benefits of eating the correct foods with proper preparation.