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Should You Soak Your Nuts? Looking at the Health Facts (+ How Soaking Works)

Is there any snack healthier for you than a handful of nuts? Crunchy and satisfying, nuts pack a powerful nutritional punch with every serving, keeping you filled with protein and ready to tackle any adventure. Whether you prefer munching on your nuts by the handful or pulverizing them into a creamy bread spread, there’s no way to go wrong when enjoying this healthy, natural snack.

Or is there?

The unpleasant reality is that thousands of people are not enjoying the full nutritional benefits of their nutty snacks. In truth, these tiny superfoods cause an untold number of problems in digestive systems everywhere- often without the snackers realizing there is a problem! When not prepared properly, nuts are incredibly difficult for your digestive system to process, and the extra strain means your body only enjoys a portion of the total nutritional content.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to combat this digestive difficulty. The simple process of soaking your nuts before eating them enables your body to better process their full nutritional content, ensuring you get healthier with every handful.

Ready to learn more? Keep reading to learn how simple and impactful adding soaking nuts to your natural food routine can be.

variety of nuts on a plate

The Problem With Raw Nuts

Think back to your last nut eating experience. Did you feel pain in your lower stomach after eating them? What about heaviness in your body for hours after, or easy to spot pieces of nut in your stool? This is a sign that your body couldn’t fully digest your nuts and wasted much of their nutritional content.

The reason for this is simple. Raw nuts have high levels of phytic acid, which is a form of bound phosphorous that naturally protects nut producing plants from the creatures that would otherwise eat them. Though phytic acid is essential for the nuts to reach maturity without getting eaten, the unpleasant effect is that your digestive system can’t process it well. When you eat phytic acid-filled nuts, the acid binds to the minerals in your digestive tract and causes irritation and potential nutrient absorption problems. Animals combat this problem by naturally producing the enzyme phytase to break phytic acid down, but humans aren’t equipped to do so. For this reason, the purported health benefits of raw nuts aren’t quite true for you, because your body can’t actually access them!

Keep in mind that phytic acid isn’t necessarily bad for you. All plants have it to some extent, but like many chemicals, the dose makes the poison. Unfortunately, nuts tend to have higher levels than other whole foods. Worst of all, modern diets are full of processed grains, which makes it harder for your body to absorb beneficial nutrients in food, making it more important than ever to reduce the levels of phytic acid in your foods.

What Difference Does Soaking Make?

You can reduce the phytic acid content of your nuts in one simple process; soaking your nuts before eating them. The natural acid is neutralized when your nuts are soaked in salt water and later dehydrated. The winning combo of both minerals and heat work to break down the acidic compounds that impede your digestion of the beneficial fats, proteins and vitamins.

Cultures around the world have been soaking their nuts in seawater before digesting them for generations, but not until recently was modern science able to unpack the reasons why this simple solution proves so beneficial. Thankfully, the process of soaking nuts is so simple that you can do it right at home.

Should Everyone Soak Nuts?

That depends on your personal body chemistry. Some people have naturally more robust digestive systems that can handle higher amounts of phytic acid than others. For these people, soaking isn’t all that useful because they can naturally absorb the majority of the nutrients in their nuts anyways. However, it’s still a good idea to try your hand at soaking to see what difference you notice for your body. Many people aren’t aware they struggle with nuts until they switch over to snacking on soaked ones instead. Give yourself the chance to try soaked nuts and you might be surprised with the difference they make for you right away.

Best of all, no other form of nut can compare to the taste of soaked ones. Soaking in salt water brings out the flavor profile of nuts, making them more tender and delicious than they were before. Putting all the health benefits of soaked nuts aside, you still might want to follow this technique simply for the superior tasting snack food you create!

Top Types of Nuts To Soak

All nuts are not created equally, and some lend themselves better to soaking than others. Small nuts like peanuts occasionally lose a lot of their texture when soaked, and Brazil nuts are barely benefited from soaking because of their high fat content. For this reason, it’s best to ignore these nuts and soak varieties like almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans instead.

The Simple Process For Soaking Your Nuts

So long as you’re willing to commit a little time to the process before you start snacking, soaking your nuts couldn’t be easier. All you need to get started is two cups of raw, organic nuts (all of one type), four cups warm, filtered water and one tablespoon salt. The salt is essential for the soaking process because it’s what activates the enzymes in the nuts that get rid of the phytic acid.

First, place the warm water in a medium sized bowl and dissolve the salt inside. Add your nuts to the bowl and make sure they are completely submerged inside. Leave them uncovered in a warm place like a counter top for 7-12 hours (overnight works best).

Next, rinse out the nuts in the sink and spread them on a baking sheet or on a tray in your dehydrator. Put them in your oven at the lowest temperature possible (150 degrees F is best) and keep them in until they are completely dry. Any remaining moisture can cause mold problems, so you can’t be too careful with this step. Alternatively, you can also put your nuts directly in a food dehydrator like this.

Note that if you plan to make nut milk, it’s best to do so before the nuts have been dehydrated. When the nuts are already soft from soaking they make creamier, tastier milk.

Once the nuts are completely dry, they are ready to be eaten in any way you see fit! The soaking and drying time for different types of nuts can vary, but below are some instructions for the most common nut varieties.

Cashews: soak for 6 hours, dehydrate for 15 hours

Almonds: soak for 12 hours, dehydrate for 15 hours

Pine nut: soak for 8 hours, dehydrate for 12 hours

Walnuts: soak for 8 hours, dehydrate for 12 hours

Pecans: soak for 8 hours, dehydrate for 12 hours

Hazelnuts: soak for 8 hours, dehydrate for 12 hours

Macadamia nuts: soak for 4 hours, dehydrate for 12 hours

closeup of roasted pistachio nuts

Are Roasted Nuts Safe To Eat?

Though their warm, smoky flavor makes them far more popular than raw nuts, most commercial roasted nuts aren’t that great for you. Not only are they fried in cheap, artery clogging oils before landing the oven, the high temperatures they are exposed to also kill off a good portion of the nutritional content they contain. If you want to get the best benefits from your nuts, it’s always best to soak them yourself.

Places to Buy Pre-Soaked Nuts

Eager to try out the benefits of soaked nuts for yourself but not ready to commit to the process of making them? You’re in luck. There are plenty of companies happy to produce pre-soaked nuts for you. The top brands use only premium organic nuts, and soak and dry them at low temperatures that keep the integrity of the natural enzymes in check. You’ll be happy with your nut purchase from any of the following brands: Blue Mountain ‘Better Than Roasted’, Living Nutz ‘Sprouted Almonds’ and Pecan Shop’s ‘Native Pecan Halves’.

Conclusion

Your digestive system is ready to enjoy the full health benefits contained in nuts. Find more ways to enjoy your favorite superfood by soaking your nuts before eating them. The process couldn’t be simpler, and the tasty results will have you quickly reaching for more. In many ways, soaking your nuts before eating them is the healthiest, easiest thing you can do to enhance this simple food and your body will certainly enjo

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