It’s a known fact that grains are the hardest to digest. After all, they’re nothing more than seeds. Seeds are meant to be tough and durable. Seeds are often scattered by birds or animals in their excrement after they eat the fruit of the plant. If they can go through the digestive system of animals without being harmed or digested, why would you think your digestive system is any different? Of course, we grind and mill the grains until it’s flour, so that should make them easier to digest, right? The answer is no. There are other reasons that grains are hard to digest.
Grains contain more complex proteins, especially whole grains.
The simpler the food, the easier it is to digest and absorb. Simple sugars are the easiest for the body to break down, the more complex a food source, the more difficult it is to digest. Gluten, one of the new buzz words that have manufacturers putting gluten free on chips, as though they’re a health food, is one of the hardest to break down and through the years of research, the gluten in grains has increased.
Your body needs enzymes for digestion and other processes.
Enzymes act as catalysts for digestion. Without enzymes, no digestion can occur. Grains contain enzyme inhibitors to prevent plants from growing until the conditions are right. Since seeds, such as grains, don’t want to sprout without adequate water and good conditions, the inhibitors help them, but they play havoc with your digestion. You need enzymes to start the digestive process.
Your digestion is affected by the phytic acid in grains.
If you eat too many grains, it could affect the absorption of minerals, since grains contain phytic acid that prevents the absorption of minerals in the small intestines. That can lead to bone loss and is bad for all your organs and cells. Effectively, the way grains are processed for commercial use doesn’t eliminate the problem and can cause digestive problems. One of those is leaky gut, which rears its ugly head in many ways.
- Disaccharides are in grains and hard to digest. Fermenting, soaking and sprouting is one way to make them easier to digest and help digestion. They also help with other problems from grains, such as removing the reducing the phytic acid.
- Unfortunately, most grains aren’t prepared properly to remove the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors when used for commercial use. This explains one of the reasons for the rise in many food related conditions.
- Whether or not Leaky Gut is real or not doesn’t matter. It’s a common practice to use an elimination diet to find offending foods that lead to health problems, which is one step in identifying the cause of leaky gut. If you’re having digestive problems, remove grains from your diet for a while to see if it helps.
- Some grains are harder to digest than others. For instance, wheat has more gluten, raw grains—like any raw seeds—are difficult to process and easy to digest quinoa—which isn’t really a grain—needs adequate cooking to make it digestible.