Yesterday I did my first ever podcast show with Rami Nagel, author of
Cure Tooth Decay and Healing Our Children. Rami and I spent an hour discussing nutrition and healthy teeth, and how to prevent and even cure tooth decay.
Click the button below to listen. You can also download the interview by clicking the iTunes button. This will subscribe you to my weekly podcast, so you can listen on the go on your iPod or iPhone (or just listen on your computer).
You can also follow this link to listen.
After the radio show was over, I called Rami to thank him and we spent about 20-30 more minutes talking. Rami is such a powerhouse of wisdom about traditional food. On that phone call, he gave me a ton more information about how to cure tooth decay, which I will share with you here. This info is not in the podcast.
Before I get into what I learned from Rami on our post-podcast phone call, I want to share a couple of things. Someone asked me on Twitter to share the source for the New Zealand cod liver oil study Rami quoted on the podcast show. He said that there was a study in New Zealand where they took two groups of girls and gave them the exact same diet, only one group they gave cod liver oil. The group getting the cod liver oil had a 40% reduction in cavities. That comes from Dr. Weston Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. You can read about it here in chapter 16 of the online book. This is the excerpt:
The diet of both their control group and tested group was the same except for one item, i.e., “one heaped teaspoonful twice daily of malt and cod liver oil.” In a group of sixty-six native girls the thirty-three with the best teeth were used as a control group. The remaining thirty-three were given the additional fat-soluble vitamins. In six months’ time, resistance of this group was raised by 41.75 percent as compared with the control group.
The Single Most Important Thing To Prevent Tooth Decay
I asked Rami what he thinks is the most important thing to do to prevent tooth decay. He said we must limit anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients such as phytic acid or oxalic acid are found in raw seeds, beans, nuts, grains and vegetables.
Soaking and sprouting nuts, seeds, legumes and grains will reduce phytic acid but not very much — only somewhere between 10-30%. So even if you are carefully germinating (sprouting) and soaking and using sourdough and other methods to ferment your grains and soaking your beans, they still do contain the anti-nutrients which block mineral absorption and chelate them from the body. It is therefore important to eat nutrient-dense foods but also to limit foods that contain anti-nutrients, even if they are properly prepared.
Rami stressed that it is extremely important to reduce anti-nutients in the diet. Even anti-nutrients in vegetables. Vegetables need to be cooked or properly fermented.
He said that just 25 mg of phytic acid will block 50% of your iron intake. Phytic acid also blocks zinc, copper and other minerals.
Rami said, the more grains, nuts and seeds you eat, the more careful you have to be. He also said that you need the enzyme, phytase, in order to take out phytate. Nuts, beans and seeds have little or no phytase. Oats, as well, have no phytase. This is why it is recommended to add a little freshly ground whole wheat flour to oats when soaking overnight. You must have phytase in order to break down phytates.
Foods With the Most Phytates: Nuts and Seeds
In the interview, Rami told me that peanuts are as bad as soybeans when it comes to phytic acid content. He said that nuts are extremely high in phytic acid. He said that he thinks peanut butter that has not been soaked and sprouted is a “garbage food”.
Rami told me that seeds are the absolute worst. Even worse than soy or peanuts. Sesame seeds have double or triple the phytic acid that soy has.
Raw nuts are very bad and full of toxic anti-nutrients. Rami said that even cooked nuts will cause seizures in dogs. He told me the story of a woman who called him. Her one-year-old was was having seizures. It turned out the woman was eating raw almond butter and breastfeeding her baby — that was what was causing the baby to have seizures.
Sesame seed oil doesn’t have phytic acid. However, Rami said that most brands of seed oil are not healthy because of the way they are pressed and processed with high pressure..
Oats: Not Safe to Eat
Due to the fact that our modern oats are not germinated and because they are heat treated, he said he does not believe that oats are safe to eat. He said he believes oats are the equivalent of pasteurized milk. He said that traditionally the people in Scotland Dr. Weston Price studied who ate a lot of oats (50% of their diet) actually germinated the oats first, then they soaked and soured them for a long time — for a number of days. The oats they ate were sour.
He said this doesn’t mean you can’t eat soaked oatmeal on occasion, but if you or your children suffer from dental decay (or for the elderly suffering from bone loss), even soaked oatmeal should be strictly avoided.
Rye Sourdough Bread
He told me that the people Dr. Weston Price studied in the Swiss Alps Recipe from Swiss/French Alps also ate 50% of their diet as grains. These people in Switzerland ate rye bread. They went to elaborate lengths lessen the anti-nutrients. They first germinated the rye, then they sifted it to remove about 20-25% of the bran. Then they would ferment it using sourdough. Rami said rye is the most easily fermentable grain.
He also told me that wheat and rye are high-phosphorous foods and for this reason it is important to eat them with calcium-rich foods. This is why the Swiss always ate their rye bread with dairy. He stressed that in particular, fermented dairy is especially good — like cheese or yogurt. I suppose that would also include cultured butter and cultured cream, or crème fraiche.
He said if people really want to eat bread, they should eat a rye bread soaked/fermented with sourdough for a minimum of 16 hours.
Other Traditionally Prepared Grains, Nuts, Legumes & Seeds
Rami said that people eating traditional diets around the world go to great lengths to properly germinate, sprout, soak, and ferment their nuts, grains, legumes and seeds. He said people in China eat a soured rice, and they make noodles that are soured and very easy to digest.
He also told me about people in India eating dosas. Dosas are soured pancakes made from de-husked black lentils and rice which are ground and then soured or fermented. People in India also eat idlis, which is a savory cake. The idlis are similar to dosas, made by steaming a batter consisting of de-husked black lentils and rice which are fermented.
Beans are a staple food in Nigeria. The Nigerians go through “extreme measures,” like cooking for 24 hours, to make beans edible. Beans are very high in phytic acid.
He told me that coconut flour has around 250 mg of phytic acid per 100 grams. (I looked online and could not find a reference for this. Everything I found online said that there is no phytic acid in coconut flour. I will follow up with Rami to see if he has a source.) He said traditional cultures shred the coconut and smash it to make coconut milk and cream, and they cook it or sour it. He said they eliminate most of the phytic acid this way.
Rami said that he hasn’t found any examples of traditional cultures using coconut flour, so he does not recommend coconut flour.
Anti-Nutrients in Chocolate, Coffee & Tea
I’ve always wondered why Sally Fallon Morell advises against chocolate. Rami told me that chocolate is very high in phytic acid. Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean — it’s a
bean seed! (We call it a bean but it is a seed.) Again, seeds are the worst. Raw chocolate is very high in oxalic acid and leaches calcium from the body.
Coffee, too, is a
bean seed. It is also rich in oxalic acid, as is tea.
So I guess all these people eating raw cocoa nibs aren’t actually doing themselves any favors. And I guess those of us who have a sweet tooth (we know who we are) need to watch our chocolate consumption.
And for those of us who love our coffee and tea (again, we know who we are), have another reason to avoid it.
Rami said that vitamin C blocks the effects of phytic acid. He said that there are only in trace amounts of vitamin C in liver. Vitamin C is one of the only vitamins not in liver.
He said that in many traditional cultures they go to great lengths to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C. In Australia they eat a certain kind of plum which is very high in vitamin C. Native Americans ate rose hips. In India and Latin America, they eat tamarind which is very high in vitamin C. Sauerkraut is also an excellent source of vitamin C.
Buy the Book
You can order Rami’s book on Amazon: Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, 2nd Edition
Want to Learn More?
Rami is currently writing an article about phytic acid and anti-nutrients which will be in the upcoming Wise Traditions journal. If you are not a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation, you will want to join for this reason alone. In my mind, the Wise Traditions quarterly journal is the most cutting edge information on nutrition. Click here to become a member. The quarterly journal is included in your membership, along with the annual shopping guide.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.