Why we soak or sprout our nuts and seeds legumes and Grains. . . . . . .
By Stephanie Brening, NTP
Unlocking the benefits of nuts and seeds!
By Stephanie Brening, NTP
Nuts and seeds contain Phytic acid, which is an enzyme they utilize for survival and reproduction. Animals aid in the process by spreading this enzyme around and thus the circle of life carries on. Phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient because it binds to many essential minerals (magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, and iron in the intestines) and blocks them from being absorbed and redistributed to the rest of the body.
You may have noticed that raw nuts and seeds can cause stomach pain and/or not fully digest. Consuming nuts and seeds dry (without soaking them first) will irritate the intestines and cause unnecessary digestive discomfort. I use the word unnecessary because the discomfort CAN be prevented and you CAN reap the rewards of these highly nutritious little miracles by soaking them first.
Soaking serves as a form of pre-digestion and facilitates absorption so your body can retrieve and utilize the full nutrient value of nuts and seeds.. In the wild, birds soak nuts and seeds in their mouths for days at a time, but for humans, it’s suggested that you soak (in a jar) for about 7-24 hours (7 being the minimum and 24 hours being the maximum). In fact, you can go so far as to ferment nuts (a delicious treat)! When purchasing nuts, make sure they are raw and unpasteurized.
IMPORTANT NOTES: In the USA, it’s the law to lightly steam almonds (you can still buy raw almonds) and apply heat to cashews for outer shell removal, which means they both require less soaking time. Hemp Seeds and Hulled Tahini do not require any soaking.
SOAKING NUTS & SEEDS
‣ Place 4 cups of raw, shelled nuts into a large mixing bowl.
‣ Cover with water and stir in 1 tablespoon of Celtic sea salt.
‣ Drain and then place in a dehydrator, or spread the nuts on a large baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper and dehydrate them in a warm oven (under 150ºF) for 12 to 24 hours.
IMPORTANT NOTES:Dehydrating can prove a little time consuming, but we do this to prevent any mold or fungus growth. However, if you know that you’ll be ready to eat your nuts or seeds immediately after soaking, you don’t need to bother with the dehydration process (just be sure and consume within 1 hour after rinsing them off).
If you are too busy to dehydrate, there’s an excellent company I recommend called Wildly Organics that soaks and dehydrates their nuts and seeds prior to sale.