BACK TO BASICS: HOW TO PROPERLY PREPARE GRAINS
Whole grains can be very beneficial to our health since they are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, improperly prepared grains can do more harm than good. In all whole grains there are enzyme inhibitors (anti-nutrients) that inhibit the ability to properly absorb and digest all of the vitamins and minerals that they would otherwise provide. Therefore, if your grains are not properly prepared before you cook with them and/or eat them, they will interfere with digestion AND block the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the digestive tract.
Over the years, our society has become lazy and completely disregarded the traditional way grains used to be prepared —and now skips that preparation step all together. Nowadays, mostly because most of us are uneducated on this issue, grains (more often than not) are not prepared properly for maximum digestibility. Traditional societies soak, or ferment their grains to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in grains, which essentially pre-digests the grains so that all of the nutrients within the grain are fully available and capable of being absorbed. This is what we should be doing to prepare grains in our homes as well.
Overtime, consuming too many grains that have not been properly prepared can lead to more serious digestive issues.
As a warning: Modern store-bought breads/commercial breads are most likely not properly prepared, unless you know what to look for/what kind of bread to buy, and are reading the ingredients list. (more on this in the video posted above)
To learn how easy it is to properly prepare the grains you eat ate home (and maybe on a daily basis), watch this short video of Sarah, from thehealthyhomeeconomist.com, as she explains how to properly soak rice (prior to cooking), oatmeal, pancake batter, beans, and what to look for when buying store-bought breads.