Why Are Grains The Hardest Foods To Digest?

Have you ever wondered why grains are the hardest foods to digest? It’s because they’re seeds and meant to endure a trip through your digestive system. When seeds go through digestion whole, they’re eliminated through waste. They enter and leave the body whole to be eliminated in a new area to start a new plant. Most people don’t eat seeds whole. They’re processed and ground, but there are other factors that also cause problems with digestion.

Plants survive because seeds go undigested due to enzyme inhibitors, too.

You can’t digest food unless you have the right enzyme to aid in the digestion. People with lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance are examples of those lacking an enzyme. In order for the species to survive, there needs to be protection from the digestive system if an animal or human eats the seed of that plant. Seeds like grain have an enzyme inhibitor that reduces the enzymes necessary for digestion. Those inhibitors also play a role in ensuring the seed has the right sprouting conditions, with adequate water and warmth.

Like most seeds, including legumes, grains contain phytic acid.

While phytic acid protects seeds, it also can cause harm to your digestive tract. It can block the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, like magnesium, by attaching to it. It also attaches to phosphorus, calcium, zinc and iron. It inhibits pepsin, amylase and trypsin, making protein and carbohydrate digestion more difficult. There are ways to reduce the phytic acid, but commercially, these normally aren’t done.

Complex foods are harder to digest.

Grain is a complex carbohydrate. The more complex a carb is, the harder it is to digest, unlike simple carbs that are digested and absorbed quickly. That means it takes more processes to digest and fully break down. It’s the chemical bonds that can make grain more difficult to digest and also can cause you to feel bloated, uncomfortable and even cause inflammation and irritation to your gut, causing autoimmune disease, leaky gut and allergies.

  • You can make grains easier to digest by sprouting them. When you sprout grain, it eliminates the enzyme prohibitors, since the right conditions for growing are met.
  • Fermenting grain can also help remove phytic acid, just as soaking it can. Those things also help eliminate other digestive issues caused by grain.
  • If you soak grain, use an acidic medium. Examples of those are lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and yogurt. An example of fermented grain that’s easier to digest is sour dough bread.
  • If you think you have a problem digesting grains, an elimination diet can help. Don’t forget that seeds, nuts and legumes also have many of the same issues. Consult with your health care professional before using any elimination diet.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

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