Importance of soaking nuts before eating

Nuts contain tremendous nutrient, but like grains and legumes, they can also contain substances known as
antinutrients which interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Just by process of soaking nuts
reduces the anti-nutrient content and makes them more favourable to the body; the process of soaking nuts
improves their nutrition. Enzyme inhibitors prevent the nuts from sprouting prematurely, but can cause
potential problems in humans by binding to nutrients in the body and put up to nutrient deficiencies and
digestive system irritation. Nuts store phosphorus as phytic acid and it becomes a phytate when it binds to a
mineral. In the body, this process can stop nutrients from being absorbed in the digestive system and reduce
the digestibility of these foods. In other words, just because nuts are considered as good sources of protein
and nutrients, doesn’t mean your body can absorb these nutrients. All plants contain phytic acid in some
levels, but grains, legumes, nuts and seeds commonly contain the highest levels.
It is also important to note that phytic acid may not be entirely bad, but the dose makes the poison.
Modern diets high in processed grains and low in nutrient dense fats and minerals may increase the
likelihood of nutrient absorption problems and make it even more important to reduce phytic acid levels in
food. Some phytic acid is naturally neutralized during the digestive process, but foods that are mainly high
in phytic acid benefit from the process of soaking and dehydrating to further reduce the anti-nutrient content.
Soaking in a salt solution and low-temperature dehydrating helps to eradicate much of the phytic acid and
make the nutrients in nuts more available to the body. While many traditional cultures naturally soaked nuts,
this step is hardly ever taken with large scale production since it is time consuming. It is, however, simple
and inexpensive to do at home and can considerably increase the nutrient content of the nuts you consume.

How to soak nuts?

  1. Place the warm water in a medium bowl; add the salt and let it dissolve.
  2. Add the nuts, making sure they are completely submerged in the water.
  3. Leave uncovered on the counter or other warm place for at least 7 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Rinse in a colander and spread on a dehydrator sheet. Bake in the oven at the lowest temperature,
    dehydrate until completely dry. This step is important, as any remaining moisture in the nuts can
    cause them to mold. Dehydrating time can often be up to 24 hours.
    The warm water will neutralize the enzyme inhibitors and increase the bioavailability of nutrients,
    especially B-vitamins. The salt helps activate enzymes that deactivate the enzyme inhibitors present in nuts.
    When soaking nuts, a more acidic substance is often used, since nuts contain less phytic acid than
    grains/legumes but more enzyme inhibitors, the salt is more useful. Within 7-24 hours (depending on the
    type of nut), many of the enzyme inhibitors are eradicated. At this point, dehydrating process beings to
    return the nuts to a crisp texture.
Body Builders of Pre-Independence India. Source: Barbell and Muscle Control Exercises, Keshab Sen Gupta and Bishnu Charan Ghosh. nuts
Body Builders of Pre-Independence India. Source: Barbell and Muscle Control Exercises, Keshab Sen Gupta and Bishnu Charan Ghosh.
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