Nuts and seeds have become very popular for snacks, desserts, and breakfast toppings because of their many nutritional benefits. Many people are aware that raw nuts are healthier than roasted nuts, but it is also important to know that it is necessary to soak raw nuts and seeds before you eat them. There are a couple of main reasons:
1. Nuts have phytic acid (also found in grains and legumes). When eating nuts that haven’t been soaked, phytic acid can’t be absorbed in our small intestine, which can agitate our gut lining, and also it binds to the minerals in our gastrointestinal tract, which could lead to mineral deficiencies. By soaking, phytic acid is broken down for better digestion, and it also prevents the binding process to the minerals.
2. Nuts have high amounts of enzyme inhibitors. This is another reason why un-soaked nuts are hard to digest. Soaking nuts neutralizes the enzymes allowing for proper digestion.
How to Soak:
You soak the nuts in salt water (salt is necessary to help neutralize the enzymes), and then you dry them at low heat to protect the enzymes in the nuts and seeds. Be sure to dry your nuts fully, or they could become moldy. You do not want to dry your nuts any higher than 150°F (an oven or dehydrator can be used). The followings are the soaking instructions for different nuts:
4 cups nuts
1 tbsp unrefined sea salt
filtered water (enough to cover nuts)
soak overnight or a minimum of 8 hours. Drain the water and rinse the nuts well.
Dehydrate at 90-100 degrees for 12-48 hours or until crisp.
Store the soaked and dried nuts and seeds in glass jars. It is better to store them in the freezer.
Jenny Noland, MS, CNS, CNGS, CKNS, LDN, MBA
Functional Nutritionist in Eugene, Oregon
Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist
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Personalized Nutrition Therapy for Metabolic Dysfunction and Cancer Care
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