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Do you soak your nuts? No, I'm not being cheeky here (at least not today). If you've been dabbling in a raw foodism then you are likely familiar with the benefits of soaking your nuts and seeds. If not, then read on to learn why you should.
You see nature has intended the nut and seed to be protected by enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances until perfect growing conditions are in place. When there is enough rain and sun, this sets the stage for the nut/seed to come alive (literally)! When we soak our nuts/seeds overnight, we mimic nature.
Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?
To remove or reduce phytic acid.
To remove or reduce tannins.
To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
To break down gluten (grains) and make digestion easier.
To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
To make your belly happy.
What's the problem with enzyme inhibitors?
They clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. Bad news for your digestion, especially if you continually eat unsoaked nuts, seeds (or grains). When you soak and release these inhibitors, the metabolic enzymes can then help every biological process the body does - meaning, digestion is assisted because you are literally eating the enzyme that is going to help you digest.
What about phytic acid?
All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran which can block absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract. The modern day practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran (ie. sprinkled on your cereal) often improves your "transit time" initially but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and could potentially lead to other problems. Ever notice how bloated you get when you have your morning dry cereal?
Soaking times vary. Typically the more dense the nut, the longer the soaking time.
Directions for Soaking
Rinse your nuts or seeds.
Place them in a glass bowl and completely submerge with filtered water (approx. 2x the amount of water to nuts)
Once they have soaked for the appropriate amount of time (for instance, I soak almonds overnight) rinse well and enjoy immediately or include in your recipe.
Caution: Be sure to discard the water because it contains the enzyme inhibitors.
Here's a recipe I posted a few months back for RAW SUNFLOWER SEED SPREAD.