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A few months ago, I read (but not fully understood) that pre-soaking brown rice for at least 20 hours (some say even 24 hours) enhances nutritional absorption, or supposedly reduces phytates (phytic acid). Before this, I used to just soak brown rice for about 1/2 hour or so to make it easier to cook.

Some of the links I read refer to the research of a Japanese researcher, Hiroshi Kayahara Ph.D.

Most brief overview on the research:

A blogger's reference to the above research, with photos:

Another blogger, Stephan Guyenet, with more details about effectively reducing as much as 96% of phytic acid:

Link to the research that Guyenet references to in his blog:

Some questions I have.

(1) I really have no idea what phytic acid (phytates) does nutritionally. Brief googling online mentions that phytic acid may not be the nutritional demon that some make it out to be. What is the thoughts on this board on phytic acid?

(2) Sometimes I don't remember to pre-soak brown rice with at least 20+ hours in advance, but I'll soak it as long as I can before a meal. I wonder at times if it is worth it. What do others do here?

(3) Various articles say to pre-soak at room temperature; at least one says to soak at 90°F. Some others say as much as 140°F. some say that the constant temperature must be the indicated temperature, but at home, I usually just heat up some water and add it to the pre-soak and let it gradually cool all night (and day).

(4) I have only started to eat brown rice on a consistent basis within the last year. I still buy and eat white rice frequently, largely because no pre-soaking is involved, but also it is cheaper; or I run out of brown rice. I usually buy long grain, basmati brown rice. This past weekend, I bought a 5 lb. bag of medium grain brown rice because it was only $3.75 and it has a tasty, chewy flavor and texture. Any significant nutritional difference between the types of grains?

Additional thoughts on brown rice and nutrition appreciated.

Lois Carmen D.
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