Published at: 04/08/2018

In this article we are going to discuss the benefits and risks of legume consumption in our daily lives.

Leguminous crops contain "antinutrients"

Antinutrients are substances that negatively affect the overall nutritional value of the foods and beverages we consume. They interfere with the processes of absorption of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and also affect the metabolism.


Antinutrients affect organisms in different ways.

Each antinutrient’s effect on the body is different because they take part in various processes such as absorption, metabolism and others. The damage of the antinutrients depends on which nutrients they are affecting.


Here are some popular examples of foods containing antinutrients:

(1) Coffee, containing caffeine

(2) Tea, containing caffeine and tannin

(3) Carbonated beverages, containing acids and caffeine

(4) Alcoholic beverages

(5) Antibiotics

(6) Substances that reduce metabolism and supress appetite

(7) Contraceptives

(8) Cigarettes

(9) Drugs


All foods contain a small dose of antinutrients.

Legumes, nuts, oats and whole grains have greater amount of antinutrients than fruits and vegetables, for example.

If we consume 100 grams of cooked lentils, it will give us about 35 grams of magnesium, but because of the high content of antinutrients, we will only digest 20 grams of it. In larger portions, some people get gastrointestinal disturbances such as gases.


Legumes and nuts contain dietary fibres that also contribute to swelling and gas

Gases are due to bacteria in the body. These bacteria feed on the food fibres we consume and produce gases as a result. Therefore, antinutrients aren’t the only thing that contributes to gas-related complaints.


There is a way to neutralize antinutrients

Pre-soaking of beans before cooking them, fermentation of oats and soy products, consumption of whole grains – these actions can partially or completely neutralize the negative effect of the presence of antinutrients in these foods.


Majority of the human population doesn’t have any difficulty in consuming antinutrients. As we have already mentioned, all foods contain antinutrients, so it is inconceivable to stop eating just because we are likely to get gas.

White flour contains smaller amount of antinutrients compared to other whole grain foods, because extra processing is needed in order to obtain it. Therefore we can conclude that whole-wheat flour is not more nutritious than the white one.


Examples of vitamins and minerals that may be affected by antinutrients:


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