Legumes are one of those essential foods in a balanced diet due to their large amount of nutrients. They contain a lot of protein and a large amount of fiber, as well as being very versatile in the kitchen. Legume saladsstews and endless preparations that have something in common. The first step: soak them.
We could cook the chickpeas without prior soaking, but doing so or not will determine the subsequent cooking time and digestion. But there is something more than it changes if we do not soak the legumes beforehand and it has to do with a term called antinutrients.
Why do you have to soak the chickpeas and the rest of the legumes?
The chickpea is, according to experts, the legume with more phosphorus and calcium. Even more than whole cow’s milk. It is a source of protein with a high proportion of amino acids essential and complex carbohydrates. It also has a lot of fiber as indicated by a study published in British Journal of Nutrition. And it has a large amount of minerals such as potassium and magnesium, as well as various B vitamins.
But it has a drawback and that is that, according to several studies, it has nutritional and processing problems that affect both cooking time and poor digestibility. When we soak the chickpeas overnight before cooking them, what we do is hydrate them and thus accelerate the gelatinization of the starch during cooking, making them less heavy when digesting them. but there is One more reason to soak the chickpeas is that by doing so we reduce their antinutrients.
What are antinutrients and how do they work in chickpeas?
According to Santiago Campillo, biologist and scientific disseminator, antinutrients are “a series of substances that prevent the correct absorption of nutrients. This occurs naturally due to its molecular nature.” Thus, an antinutrient acts antagonistically towards one or multiple nutrients, reducing its bioavailability and preventing nutrients from being properly absorbed.
Although they are not only present in legumes, in these we find more tannins than affect protein digestion typical of legumes. In addition, antinutrient foals are also presented that hinder the absorption of mineralssuch as phytates and phytic acid and The only way to get these antinutrients to decrease their activity is by soaking the chickpeas and any legume overnight, and discard the water in which they have been.
It’s Not That All Antinutrients Are Harmful, nor should we obsess over them according to experts because they are not dangerous to health. Campillo explains that they are only “in very particular cases, when the nutritional pattern is very specific and is based almost exclusively on certain vegetable substances, at the expense of other foods (including those of vegetable origin), which enormously increases the amount and the time of these antinutrients in the body.”
The good thing is that we can reduce the presence of antinutrients from legumes with a simple gesture and in an effective way: pre-soaking before cooking them.
Photos | clark douglas, Karina Panchenko and Milada Vigerova in Unsplash
In Jared | 15 tupperware recipes to eat well at the office and university every day of the week