Just when you think you have acquired some knowledge, something comes along to shake your belief. You realize, just how little you know. I could not possibly imagine that what we consider healthy food could be harmful to you. Till I learned about anti-nutrients that exist in food. Sure, of course, we all know that fat-laden French fries may not be the best. But I refer to things that are nutrients. Embedded deep within food characterized as regular food. Allow me to explain.

Anti-nutrients are natural or artificial compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients in food. For example, phytic acid binds calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. This binding process makes these minerals less available for absorption. Similarly, glucosinolates prevent the absorption of iodine. Trypsin inhibitors and lectins found in legumes interfere with digestion. Lectins found in beans and wheat, causes indigestion, bloating and gas for many people. More commonly known gluten is notorious for causing gastrointestinal disorders.

There is no need to panic. Many anti-nutrients can be made harmless through the regular process of cooking, fermenting and boiling. Our ancestors learned about this several centuries ago. Unless of course, you are intolerant. If you are, the challenge is to detect what you are intolerant to. This can be like walking through a maze. Especially if your diet includes food that is diverse and unhealthy. Saturated fats, processed foods, foods that are high in fast sugar or high in sodium for example. If true, it is hard to isolate just what is causing you that heartburn or nausea. The only answer is to eliminate food types and watch your body respond over a week or two.

If you are eating clean, just one wrong meal is enough. The morning after will tell you that you messed up. Much like a hangover!


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.