Nuts, seeds and grains are a part of most peoples’ diets for good reason as they contain some great nutrition. Did you realise though, when not prepared correctly, that they contain substances that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients?
If you enjoy eating these foods on a consistent basis then keep reading so you can learn how to prevent developing nutrient deficiencies and digestive issues in the future.
What do you need to soak?
Raw nuts, seeds and grains contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This is essential for the survival of these plants when proper growing conditions are not present. Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are removed naturally when it rains so the plant can germinate to reproduce. We are basically mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, seeds and grains.
This is important for humans to do, otherwise the enzyme inhibitors will bind to nutrients in the body and cause nutrient deficiencies. Raw nuts, seeds and grains are difficult to assimilate and if consumed in excess they will put a strain on the digestive system.
Phytic acid also combines with minerals in the body including calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. This blocks our ability to absorb them, leading to mineral deficiencies and loss of bone density.
- neutralises enzyme inhibitors
- reduces or removes phytic acid
- reduces or removes the bitter taste of these plants and brings out their true flavour
- makes digestion easier
- makes for easier absorption of proteins
- prevents mineral deficiencies
- encourages production of beneficial enzymes
- allows easier absorption of essential nutrients
What about legumes?
I definitely recommend soaking raw legumes in water and an acid medium (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) in four parts water to one part legume for at least 12 hours before cooking. (For every 1 cup of beans you’ll need 1 tbsp acid). After soaking, drain, rinse and cook for 4-8 hours.
Tip: place some dried seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. The benefits of this include faster cooking, improved flavour and digestion and more nutrients.
Even though the soaking process might seem a hassle, if you make it a habit it will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it – it’s another step worth taking to reach optimal health.