Saturday, 20 November 2010

Plants are alive!

I love learning new things. Just love it. The biggest thing I have learnt on this challenge is the issues with anti-nutrients from some plants.

When you think about it of course it makes COMPLETE sense that there may be things in plants that dont agree with us. Most of us tend to associate plants with things that you have to plant to get a bloom in spring or something that we eat. True we have a vague recollection that they have something to do with the Sun and energy, but mostly we just like they way they look in the garden.

I think it is very easy to think that if anything is natural then it must be inherently good for us but this is far from the case as you will see.

Consider first, the humble apple. Although we eat the fruit and seemingly destroy the plant, there is a happy (ish) trade off for the Apples mum. In terms of defence, apples are quite high up and do have a skin which would protect it from some insect predators. Once the apple is eaten it will then be passed on through the body and left in a nice pile of fertile dung- so like in good business, there is a fair trade here.

However, lets look at seeds. These beauties are the offspring of a plant and like any living thing, plants want to reproduce. It aint gona be very helpful if they were just munched on by every bugger that sees them- soooo what do they do? They contain something called phytates which if my understanding is correct, is responsible for binding together of nutrients such as Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium which are critical for the seeds to sprout and flourish.

So what do you think occurs when we throw these things on top of our chicken salad? Well the phytates that bind these nutrients do exactly the same in our bodies and "hold on" to the same nutrients making it near impossible for us to utilise them. What are we generally deficient in the UK in?

The end result is that with chronic consumption of phytates we are unable to absorb a lot of nutrients regardless of how man supplements we take.

So some of those plants that seem harmless are actually complete bastards!

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