Do you soak brown rice? If you don’t, you might want to start. Why? Because brown rice contains phytic acid. In fact, brown rice contains more phytic acid than any other grain, even oats.
Brown rice contains 1250 milligrams of phytic acid per 100 grams and oats has 1170. (Source)
What’s wrong with phytic acid? Phytic acid binds with minerals and prevents absorption. So, while brown rice contains three times more calcium and magnesium than white rice, you can’t absorb it due to the phytic acid. So you might as well eat white rice.
But I personally love the flavor of brown rice. If you want to eat brown rice and get maximum nutrition from it, use this trick that will remove over 90% of the phytic acid in brown rice.
Why Soaking Rice in Water Doesn’t Cut It
The big problem with brown rice is it doesn’t have much phytase. Phytase is necessary in order to break down phytic acid (kind of like we need lactase to break down lactose). So when you soak brown rice in water, even if you add an acidic medium (like yogurt or whey), there is not enough phytase to break down the phytic acid much.
How to Soak Brown Rice: This One Trick Removes Over 90% of the Phytic Acid
The Trick: Save and Reuse Your Rice Soaking Water
Saving and reusing your rice soaking water will remove over 90% of the phytic acid in your brown rice when the rice is soaked for 24 hours. (Thanks to Stephan Guyenet of the Whole Health Source blog for this recipe.)
Here’s how to do it (jump down for the printable recipe):
1. Measure your brown rice and add to a bowl.
2. Add rice soaking water. (See the recipe below that explains how to start the first batch of rice soaking water.
3. Add filtered water to cover the rice.
4. Cover with a plastic bowl cover (I love these from Amazon) and put in a warm place for 24 hours. You can soak the brown rice for less time but it should be soaked for at least 8-12 hours, and ideally for 24 hours.
5. When ready to use the rice, strain at least 10% of the rice soaking water into a mason jar and store in the fridge to use the next time you make rice.
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