Have you ever thought about soaking your nuts and seeds before eating them? Are you already soaking your oatmeal and grains ? Then you should include nuts/seeds because they all have 2 things in common... they contain phytic acids & enzyme inhibitors that can cause problems for our gut if not properly removed or reduced.
Today I am sharing at The Nourishing Gourmet sharing how soaking nuts & seeds helped my digestion, what I learned about nuts & seeds and how you can learn to properly prepare them in 3 simple steps.
I used to cringe at nuts & seeds growing up. I wasn't fond of the waxy, slightly bitter taste or the bland texture. My parents often put out a bowl of trail mix… I would always eat the M&M's and dried fruits instead of the nuts. When I did force myself to eat a handful or two, I didn't like how I felt afterwards… my stomach would sometimes feel heavy & aching. My head would hurt. My mouth sometimes felt funny and I often got tired & cranky.
I was told these guys were supposed to be healthy and a great source of energy for those who were active in sports!! Not so for me. I thought it was because I'm more of a "carb" person and couldn't handle a lot of protein.
Fast forward to several years later, through research I learned that I was basically experiencing mild nut/seed allergies and that my body was telling me my digestive system was under a lot of stress trying to digest them.
Now, I can digest and throughly enjoy nuts/seeds with no problems! You can continue to read my story over at The Nourishing Gourmet , but b
Soaking Nuts & Seeds...
1. Helps deactivate the phytic acid. The biggest defense mechanism in nuts & seeds is the phytic acid. When something that contains phytic acid is eaten, the acid binds itself to minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, manganese and chromium in the gut, which prevents the digestive system's ability to break the nut or seed or grain down properly (that's why, often, when you eat nuts or seeds… you see undigested bits in your stool the very next day!).
2. Reduces giotrogens. Goitrogens is are known to suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can cause a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid), slow down the thyroid, hypothyroidism other autoimmune thread disorders. Soaking helps reduces goitrogens and actually increases the necessary minerals needed for a healthy thyroid!
3. Helps neutralize the enzyme inhibitors. Enzyme inhibitors neutralizes vital enzymes that your body naturally produces and can lead to many illnesses that results of an unhealthy, enzyme-depleted gut. Signs that your body is lacking enzymes are bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, irritable bowels and gas. A lack of just one enzyme in the body can lead to many problems and you will only live as long as your body has enzymes… which is why it is important to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors to keep them from robbing your body of its natural enzymes. Soaking increases the natural enzymes within the nuts & seeds, helps provide greater absorption of the its' nutrients and increases digestibility.
Most health experts say it is enough to take digestive enzymes to help neutralize the enzyme inhibitors, but why spend at least $20 for a bottle of digestive enzymes when simply soaking and dehydrating is all you need to do and costs next to nothing!
4. Encourages the production of beneficial enzymes. The salt used to soak the nuts & seeds help activate enzymes that neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors. These good enzymes aid the gut to be able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
5. Increases vitamins absorption, especially B vitamins.
When the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are removed, it basically sets the vitamins and minerals free to be easily absorbed by the body.
6. Helps make the proteins more easily available for absorption.
Phytic acid inhibits two specific enzymes needed to make the proteins easier to digest and absorb, Pepsin and Trypsin. Pepsin is needed to help breakdown the proteins in the stomach and Trypsin is needed for protein digestion in the small intestine. Tannins also prevents the body from properly absorbing the proteins and is removed during the soaking process.
7. Prevents mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
Diets high in phytate (phytic acid) cause mineral deficiencies. Again, we know that when phytic acid is eaten, the acid binds itself to minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, manganese and chromium in the gut. Thankfully, soaking helps deactivate the phytic acid to allow the minerals to be absorbed in the body.
Studies show that we absorb about 20% more zinc and 60% more magnesium from our food when phytic acid is removed. It is important to note that phytic acid does not leach minerals that are already stored in the body... it only prevents the absorption of minerals from food where phytic acid is present.
8. Neutralizes toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean. Nuts and seeds are high in fibre, which is the most important, non-digestible component of food. A high-fibre diet supports a healthy digestive tract by sweeping debris from the colon, much like a broom. Fibre from the nuts & seeds help exercise the intestinal tract and hold moisture in the colon, softening the stool.
9. Prevents many health diseases and conditions When consuming too much phytate (phytic acid) in nuts, seeds and cereal grains for a long period of time... the body becomes seriously deficient in minerals, vitamins and enzymes, which can lead to anemia, low zinc levels, rickets, osteoporosis and other illness related to low mineral absorption. If you struggle with any of these conditions/diseases you should not be eating unsoaked nuts.
10. Improves flavor & texture. Many of the nuts & seeds, especially walnuts and almonds, have a delicious flavor after they've been soaked and rinsed. That is because the tannins found on the skin of most nuts & seeds is removed via soaking.
When soaking for as little as 20 minutes, the soak water turns a murky brown color. After several hours, much of the dust, residue and tannins from the skins are released into the water and the soaked comes out more palatable and sweeter.
You will notice that soaked walnuts does not have that astringent, mouth-puckering taste… this is because when soaking walnuts, the tannins are released and rinsed away, leaving behind a softer and more buttery nut. Same with pecans!
Note: the soak water should always be discarded and never used as water in a recipe or given to your animals.
Ready to Get Started?
You can easily learn how to properly prepare your nuts & seeds using 3 simple steps and the soaking times varies for each nut and seed . Be sure to give this a try at least once... that's all it took for me to be won over!
Think you will start soaking your nuts & seeds? Your gut will profusely thank you if you did!
Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity by Dr. Edward Howell
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon