Study answers the question: why should you soak nuts and seeds?

Heather Suhr
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Many people may have wondered if it’s truly important to soak nuts and seeds to receive the maximum nutritional benefits. Well, according to several natural health physicians and food experts, the answer is a resounding YES! It’s very important to soak raw nuts and seeds prior to eating them.

Soaking nuts and seeds can reduce harmful toxins

Raw nuts and seeds are very healthy for you; however, they contain high amounts of phytic acid, which creates difficulties for our bodies when trying to digest them. Research now supports that soaking and sprouting raw nuts and seeds can help reduce the harmful toxins and obtain optimal nutritional value. (1)

Phytic acid is the storage form of a plant’s phosphorus, and serves as an antioxidant to the nuts and seeds during times of oxidative stress. (2) It interferes with the bioavailability and absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the digestive tract. (1,3)

Soaking and sprouting raw nuts and seeds nullifies phytic acid’s impact on the body

Phytic acids are considered enzyme inhibitors, which can clog, bind, or denature the body’s natural digestive and metabolic enzymes used to break down food. (1)

When phytic acid is bound to an enzyme, minerals cannot be properly absorbed in the body and can lead to mineral deficiencies. One study shows that phytates can affect the body’s mineral availability when consumed in excessive amounts. (4) Another study shows that eating foods high in phytic acid can inhibit iron absorption. (5)

7 answers to the question, why should you soak nuts and seeds

By soaking and sprouting you are:

  1. Removing/reducing phytic acid and tannins.
  2. Neutralizing enzyme inhibitors and toxins in the colon.
  3. Encouraging beneficial enzyme productions.
  4. Increasing the amounts of vitamins (especially B vitamins).
  5. Breaking down gluten for easier digestion.
  6. Preventing mineral deficiencies, bone loss, and other health diseases.
  7. Making proteins more readily available for absorption. (6)

Now that we have the answer to why we should soak nuts and seeds…let’s get into the how.

How to properly soak nuts and seeds

First, it’s best to ensure you’re purchasing organic raw nuts free from any other harmful chemicals. Then, prior to dehydrating or blending your nuts, soak them. Just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Rinse the desired nuts/seeds and place in a glass bowl.
  2. Cover the nuts/seeds with warm distilled, purified, or filtered water with 1 tsp of sea salt. Use a ratio of two parts water to 1 part nuts/seeds.
  3. Keep the bowl at room temperature and cover with flour sac cloth or thin tea towel that breathes.
  4. Soak nuts/seeds according to their appropriate times to ensure proper digestibility. A rough estimate on the time is 8-10 hours, or simply, overnight.
  5. Drain and rinse the nuts/seeds properly to ensure complete removal of all the toxic enzyme inhibitors. Once the water comes out completely clear, it’s good to go. (Note: There have been some recommendations to add a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar in the final rinse to remove any bacteria that may remain.)
  6. Proceed with dehydrating or blending.

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.westonaprice.org
(2) jxb.oxfordjournals.org
(3) www.marksdailyapple.com
(4) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(5) ajcn.nutrition.org
(6) foodmatters.tv
(7) healthyblenderrecipes.com

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/ae3MdY

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