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Do you soak nuts and seeds before eating them, and why is that important?

When a Functional Health Coach works with a client, one of thing things that is always a part of their health protocol is making necessary changes to their diet to allow their body to receive much needed nutrients and to remove toxins. Due to digestive issues, many clients find that switching to a grain free, gluten free, Paleo or Primal diet helps them to feel better more quickly, and often eases digestive distress. There is one common denominator with all of these different diets…they are all typically high in nuts and seeds.

Nuts and seeds actually do have some great health benefits, such as:

  • Lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Can help you to feel full longer after a meal
  • Helps support brain function
  • Can reduce your risk of cancer
  • Increases energy
  • Support bone health

Nuts and seeds are packed with vital nutrients that the body needs. They are high in protein, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, high in beneficial minerals such as magnesium, zinc, selenium and manganese as well as B vitamins.

But despite being so rich in nutrients, there are some drawbacks to eating nuts that must be addressed in order to utilize the nutrients in nuts and seeds effectively. Nuts and seeds contain a compound called phytic acid, which protects the nut or seed until it is able to be germinated. The phytic acid prevents nutrients from within the nuts and seeds from being absorbed by the body and causes them to be more difficult to digest, causing digestive upset for some people. Nuts and seeds also contain enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors help to prevent each nut and seed from sprouting prematurely. But problems occur when eating them, because enzyme inhibitors bind with vital nutrients in the body, rendering them unavailable for biological functioning and ultimately leading to nutrient deficiencies.

The good news is that there is a simple way to minimize both phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in nuts and seeds. Traditional cultures have been soaking and drying nuts and seeds for thousands of years in order to naturally increase the bioavailability of nutrients, as well as to neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, making them more digestible. It’s simple to do that at home as well.

What you will need:

  • A large bowl
  • Filtered water
  • Sea salt

What you need to do:

  1. Place 2-4 cups of raw nuts into the bowl.
  2. Pour in enough filtered water so that the nuts are completely submerged.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt.
  4. Allow the bowl to sit out on the counter for at least 7 hours (doing this overnight works well, and you can soak them for up to 24 hours).
  5. Drain and rinse in colander.
  6. Add to a large baking sheet or a dehydrator sheet.
  7. Bake in the oven or dehydrator at no higher than 150 F until completely dry.

Be aware that this process can take from 12-24 hours to complete in order for the nuts to dry fully. Without drying fully, it is easy for mold or fungus to grow, so any wet nuts would have to be used or consumed quickly before spoiling.

Once dry, you will find that the nuts have a nice crispy texture to them. If you want to use your soaked nuts in an almond or cashew milk, the perfect time to do that is before drying them, while they are still soft!

Two seeds that you shouldn’t soak are chia and flaxseed. Both of these seeds gel when wet, and so it is difficult to complete a soaking and drying process.

If you don’t wish to soak and dry seeds and nuts, you can now find many varieties to purchase online that have been both soaked and sprouted for optimal bioavailability of nutrients. Even some large natural grocery chains are carrying soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds, giving you even more options.

 

 

2019-04-12T17:51:36+00:00

12 Comments

  1. Hélène May 8, 2016 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    They keep a long time too, once you dry them. So do a huge amount at once as its a pain to remember long enough in advance. You can fill your dehydrator too. Most ovens dont go lower then 200 so you cant use your oven.
    Young kids who eat them daily really benefit from soaking. My dd had diarrhea for days if I gave her unsoaked nuts and seeds more than once or twice a week. She wasnt allergic, just couldnt handle the unsoaked!

  2. niki May 8, 2016 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Why do we need to put sea salt? I’ve never heard of that before? What’s the benefit? thanks!

    • Kathryn Seppamaki May 8, 2016 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      The salt activates specific enzymes that deactivate the enzyme inhibitors that are present, so it is vital to use sea salt for the best nutrient benefits!

      • Carole May 9, 2016 at 2:43 pm - Reply

        Do you put sea salt in the water when soaking or sprinkle on when dehydrating? I only drink distilled water and I put sea salt in my water

        • Carole May 9, 2016 at 2:56 pm - Reply

          Oh I just saw the answer to my question.. Sorry and thx

    • Carole May 9, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      Yes in all the classes I’ve taken, Cheri Soria, Alissa Cohen, Dr RitaMarie Loscalzo, I have never heard this before either

  3. Sohaila May 8, 2016 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Thank You for your eye openers

  4. Patrick May 8, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Why &/or what does the sea salt provide? Does it impact the flavor? Thanks for any insights.

    • Kathryn Seppamaki May 8, 2016 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      The salt is necessary to activate the enzymes that get rid of the enzyme inhibitors in the nuts. If you are concerned about it adding a salty flavor to the nuts, you can rinse the nuts fully after soaking them. That should remove excess salt and limit any salty taste! Hope that helps!

      • Patrick May 9, 2016 at 6:21 am - Reply

        Thank you Kathryn for your guidance. I have cashews soaking overnight right now. I look very forward to tomorrow morning when I will be able to rinse the soaked/sprouted cashews and then put them in my Vitamix to make healthy and delicious Cashew milk!

  5. Elizabeth May 9, 2016 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    How do you sprout the nuts and seeds at home? The article says you can purchase them soaked, sprouted and then dried. How do you do that whole process at home?

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