Legumes, nuts, and seeds boasts many phytonutrients, vitamins, and fiber. They are dense in macronutrients (especially the healthy fats) and fiber as well as compact and easy to carry. Whether you blend them into butters or smoothies or eat them the way nature intended, they are superfoods that must be eaten daily. Unfortunately, many of the nutrients in nuts, seeds, and grains cannot be properly absorbed without a little prep.
Like humans, our plants don’t want to be the prey of larger creatures. As such, they release phytic acid during their germination to deter their consumption. Now some animals produce enough of the enzyme, phytase, to be able to break-down the acid so it is not a problem for them. Alas, we humans do not produce enough of it. Phytic acid binds to our intestinal cells and inhibits proper absorption. Thus, nuts and legumes may wreak havoc on your digestive tract unless soaked properly.
Soaking these superfoods in water diminishes the phytic acid while still retaining its phyto-benefits. The commercially-sold manufacturers do not undergo this process due to its time-consuming factors so to enjoy the full
nutrient punch of nuts, legumes, and seeds you must immerse them in water.
Preparation times vary depending on the item.
- Place your beans, lentils, nuts, or seeds in a bowl
- Fill up the bowl with water, preferably filtered
- Throw in a sprinkle of salt
- Leave the item submerged for several hours (Time varies on item. See graph below.)
- Remove the item and place single-file on a tray.
- Place in a dehydrator from 100-150 degrees for no less than 12 hours or until crispy (time varies on item). You may use an oven as well if it can be lowered to that temperature.
The graph below gives specific details on each particular nut, seed, or grain you may soak. Courtesy of Weed Em & Reap.
Sprouted foods are gaining popularity these days as they boast higher nutritional yields. To sprout, you must soak and air dry over several days. Sprouting nuts is difficult but is more common than grains and seeds. I recommend you start soaking first and then expand your reach to sprouting should it tickle your fancy.
- Most commercially-sold nuts are roasted in inflammatory, industrial-grade oils. Buy raw nuts.
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes do not need to be purchased organic as they do not absorb a high amount of pesticides.
Ideally, if you have the time and money or if you ingest a high phytic acid diet it would behoove you to soak. Inexpensive, durable dehydrators are available if you don’t want to break the bank. Or just use your oven.
A. Gregory Luna
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