The Benefits of Soaking NutsJan 04, 2023
Traditional cultures used to soak nuts and seeds before eating them. Intuitively, they knew this process increased nutrition and digestibility. Native Americans ground nuts and soaked them in water, making a creamy drink. The Aztecs would soak pumpkin or squash seeds in salt water, and then sun-dry them.
Don't eat raw nuts
Raw nuts often cause mild stomach irritation, and leading many people to avoid them over time. After soaking and dehydrating, most people can add these delicious snacks back into their diet.
Like grains, raw nuts and seeds contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors.
Most every animal has an obvious defensive mechanism like teeth or stingers. The plant kingdom is no different. The major defense mechanism in nuts is phytic acid.
This helps safeguard the nut or seed until proper growing conditions are present and germination can occur. When something that contains phytic acid is eaten, the acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, which inhibits our digestive systems’ ability to break the nut down properly. Over time this can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Raw nuts and seeds contain protease inhibitors, which can block enzyme function. Most plant foods develop these inhibitors to form a protective barrier against insects. Nuts and seeds will not break down into their simplest forms during digestion when protein inhibitors are present.
It's not what you eat, but what you digest
When you hear “nuts and seeds are a good source of protein” you must take into consideration that your body cannot properly digest and absorb them easily, thus you might be getting more gut inflammation and indigestion than benefit.
Anti-nutrients and plant defenses are BAD – but the amount you consume is especially important. For young children that do not have fully formed digestive tracks, soaking can be a great way to prevent tummy upset and provide more nutrient density.
Benefits of Soaked Nuts
Soaking in warm water with celtic sea salt and low-temperature dehydrating helps to break down much of the phytic acid and make the nutrients in nuts more available to the body. The warm water will neutralize many of the enzyme inhibitors and increase the bioavailability of many nutrients, especially b-vitamins. The salt helps activate enzymes that deactivate the enzyme inhibitors present in nuts.
Within 7-24 hours (depending on the seed or nut), many of the enzyme inhibitors are broken down. At this point, a dehydrating process beings to return the nuts to a crisp texture.
You can find more information from Weston A. Price Foundation or Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions.
Soaked Nuts Recipe
Mix 2 tbsp celtic sea salt with 1 lb of raw nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
Soak for only 5-6hrs or they will be not turn out as yummy
Place them in oven on lowest temp overnight