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Benefits of Soaking Nuts & Seeds

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 be
Oct 26, 2010 | Joy McCarthy

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.

Oct 26, 2010 BY Joy McCarthy
Sheri   •   October 26, 2010

Thanks for this, Joy!! Do the almond skins slip off after being soaked all night? Do you soak your rice and quinoa overnight?

joyousness   •   October 26, 2010

Candice   •   October 26, 2010

Does it matter if the nuts are raw or roasted? Thanks! C

joyousness   •   October 26, 2010
Habby   •   October 15, 2015

Dani @ Body By Nature   •   October 26, 2010

This post came at the perfect time! I just learned about phytic acid in class :)


VeggieGirl   •   October 26, 2010

WONDERFUL tips, especially since you know that I eat a lot of nuts, haha :)


Anna   •   October 26, 2010

Hi Joy! Which oil would you recommend to use when cooking on the stove? I think I read it somewhere on your post about olive oil turning rancid at high temperatures, not sure how the breakdown works, could you please share your input? Thank you :)

joyousness   •   October 27, 2010
Dawn   •   October 30, 2010

  •   October 27, 2010

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joy McCarthy, saranalateeqi. saranalateeqi said: Why soak nuts, grains and seeds? increase the amounts of vitamins, make proteins readily available for absorption, more [...]


Anna   •   October 27, 2010

After soaking and rinsing nuts, is there a time limit for consumption in terms of possible harmful processes taking place? If I don't eat all the nuts, can I live them out in the air, or should I refrigerate them? Thank you :)

joyousness   •   October 28, 2010

Anne   •   October 29, 2010

I just recently started soaking my almonds -- at the suggestion of my acupuncturist. I actually kind of like the slightly different texture and "sweeter" taste. Very yummy. It's good to know the science behind soaking them too.


Tania   •   January 31, 2012

I love my almonds roasted.. I didn't know that it could denature the fats. I tried soaking them last night and roasting them this morning but you definitely don't get the same crunch.


Banana, Chocolate, and Hazelnut Muffins (Gluten-Free) | dishes and dishes   •   January 8, 2013

[...] cup hazelnuts, soaked and dried if possible (benefits of soaking nuts here)2 eggs1/2 cup xylitol (or you can use regular sugar)8 Tbs butter, melted1/4 cup plain yogurt1 cup [...]


how to buy nuts and seeds   •   September 19, 2018

Good and useful post. Quite attractive. Know more about how to buy nuts and seeds

Rachel Molenda   •   September 19, 2018

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