Qué son los antinutrientes

What are antinutrients

All foods contain a number of nutrients, minerals, vitamins and other substances, which are necessary in different measures for the human body. But in addition to those healthy substances, many of the most consumed foods contain other substances that, although not harmful, become potentially dangerous.

These are antinutrients, which are components present in many foods and which act negatively on absorption, digestion or in the way of assimilating other nutrients that in turn, are essential for the body. That is, the same food can contain good nutrients and antinutrients that prevent the assimilation of these healthy substances.

But antinutrients do not have to be in the same food, on many occasions, the way to combine food is what favors this process. Therefore, it is very important to have some knowledge about nutrition, so you could easily avoid nutritional deficiencies that put health at risk. Very especially in children, since it is essential that children receive all the essential nutrients correctly. Otherwise, your health and growth may be in danger.

The most common antinutrients

Las saponinas

Saponins are part of the composition of some legumes, especially chickpeas and soy. This substance prevents the body from absorbing iron, which is one of the most important and necessary nutrients for health.

There is a very simple way to remove this component from legumes, just make sure to soak this food well before cooking. Even legumes that do not need soaking like quinoa, you can remove saponins with a good cold water soak.


Also called phytic acid, phytates are found in many whole grains, since this substance is part of the fiber. Phytates can be very beneficial for health, however, there are studies that show that this substance limits the absorption of iron of plant origin. In addition, they directly affect the assimilation of calcium.

The way to prevent phytates from acting as an antinutrient is by taking care of how this type of food is taken. That is, if you are going to take a food rich in iron, such as spinach, avoid taking wholemeal bread in the same meal, for example.

The tannins

Té negro

Tannins are found in coffee, in tea and in some dried legumes. This substance interferes with the availability of proteins, inaddition to limiting the absorption of iron.

To eliminate the effect of tannins present in legumes, you just need to soak them, just as we saw paragraphs above with saponins. In the case of coffee or tea, it is most convenient to avoid taking such infusions when taking iron-rich foods. Tannins can interfere with the absorption of nutrients up to two hours later, so avoid taking these products after meals.

La avidina

This substance is present in egg white, as is biotin, which is a very important group B protein for the body. The problem is that by joining both components, avidine acts as an antinutrient preventing the body from obtaining the benefits of biotin.

The way to act against avidin is simple, you just have to cook the egg well before taking it. Because the danger lies when you consume the clear without cooking.


Oxalates are found in a large number of plant-based foods such as cocoa, green leafy vegetables, nuts or legumes among others. These substances prevent the body from assimilating other important and necessary nutrients such as iron and calcium. Therefore, the best way to reduce this effect, is to avoid the simultaneous consumption of these foods.

Healthy lifestyle habits

As you see, antinutrients are present in a large number of natural foods. You may even think that you are nourishing yourself properly because you eat healthy foods. Therefore, in addition to using caution when mixing foods or when cooking, the best way to properly nourish your body is by offering a healthy and balanced diet.

Also, you should not forget to have a medical check-up regularly. So you can make sure everything is correct and in the event that is not the case, the doctor will be able to offer you the best solution to make you feel strong, healthy and with iron health.