Antinutrients in vegan/plant-based diet: ‘Are they really that bad?’ Workshop by WegeCentrum

The food you eat can be either the safest and the most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.

Ann Wigmore

There’s no doubt that by encouraging whole, plant-based foods into the eating regimen we do certain cleansing interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels.

HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation shares with us following information:

  Risks of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, along with their ensuing complications (eg, behavioral health and quality-of-life problems) often go hand-in-hand and are strongly linked to lifestyle, especially dietary choices.

A healthy, plant-based diet aims to maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods (including dairy products and eggs). It encourages lots of vegetables (cooked or raw), fruits, beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, seeds, and nuts (in smaller amounts) and is generally low-fat.

When we exclude certain food like meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods our duty is to learn how to cook these main energy-boosters. They go by name fruits and vegetables too 😀

WCW3 2.07In the beginning of July, WegeCentrum and it’s lecturers Iwona Kibil and Małgorzata Sobczyk led a workshop on antinutrients and their effects on our organism.

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The first part of the workshop aimed to introduce us to the world of antinutritional elements, what they really are, where we can find them (plant sources) together with side effects on our organism.

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Polyphenols

 Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the diet. The risk of consuming high doses of polyphenols from naturally polyphenol-rich foods is low.

Side effects: take into account the negative effects of other ingredients in foods like these: cholesterol-increasing fats in coffee, alcohol in wine, and fat in chocolate. Foods can be fortified with polyphenols, but we must be sure that they are consumed by the target populations for which they are designed and not by populations that are potentially at risk, such as children and pregnant women.

Positive effects: prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and osteoporosis and suggests a role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes mellitus

Found in: fruits (citruses – flavanones, apples – phloridzin, izaflavones – soya)  and vegetables, green and black tea, red wine, coffee, chocolate, dry legumes, olives, extra virgin olive oil.

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Tanins

Tannins (commonly referred to as tannic acid) are water-soluble polyphenols that are present in many plant foods.

Side effects: decreased efficiency in converting the absorbed nutrients to new body substances. Incidences of certain cancers, such as esophageal cancer, have been reported to be related to consumption of tannins-rich foods such as betel nuts and herbal teas, suggesting that tannins might be carcinogenic.

Positive effects: a number of mutagens and the mutagenic activity has been reduced by tannin molecules. Their antioxidative property is important in protecting cellular oxidative damage. The antimicrobial activities efficiently help to inhibit the growth of many fungi, yeasts, bacteria, and viruses. Tannins have also been reported to exert other physiological effects, such as to accelerate blood clotting, reduce blood pressure and to decrease the serum lipid level.

Found in: tea, wine, beer, fruit juices (not citrus), berries, legumes, smoked food, herbs and spices, chocolate.

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Saponins

Saponins are glycosides with a distinctive foaming characteristic. They are found in many plants, but get their name from the soapwort plant (Saponaria), the root of which was used historically as a soap.

Negative effects:  several rangeland weeds in the US including corn cockle, soapwort, cow cockle, and broomweed cause serious toxicity problems for grazing livestock because of their saponins. Most saponins are also diuretic. In humans, this effect disappears within a week following the neutralizing action of cholesterol.

Positive effects: saponins found in oats and spinach increase and accelerate the body’s ability to absorb calcium and silicon, thus assisting in digestion. Studies have illustrated the beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels, cancer, bone health and stimulation of the immune system.

Found in: most vegetables, beans and herbs. The best known sources of saponins are peas, soybeans, and some herbs with names indicating foaming properties such as soapwort, saoproot, soapbark and soapberry.

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Would you like to learn more? You can do it for sure! 😀

Worth to mention: this workshop also includes suitable information on polyphenols, phenolic compounds, tannins, oxalates, catechins, pectin, glucosinolates, phytates, trypsin inhibitors and saponins.

During the 3rd and 4th part of the training you’ll be able to learn culinary techniques on how to improve the digestibility of nutrients on the plant-based diet.  WCW10 2.07WCW11 2.07WCW13 2.07WCW6 2.07

You can get more information about Wegecentrum here: the official webpage.

Want to become a participant of the workshop? Take a look on this page.

Healthy yours, Marina ♥

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