Nuts, seeds, legumes and grains can be very nutritious additions to your diet, given you don’t have any sensitivities to these foods. All provide a tonne of vitamins, and nuts in particular offer a nice little hit of protein and healthful fatty acids that facilitate nutrient absorption, blood sugar regulation, and increased satiation. Only problem is they are VERY hard to digest! All are coated in a natural defense mechanism, which includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances such as enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens. When eating nuts, seeds, legumes and grains that haven’t been soaked, the enzyme inhibitors bind to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract and make it so that they cannot be absorbed in the intestine. This can lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. Similarly, toxins like phytates prevent mineral absorption, and also put a huge strain on the digestive system, causing gas, bloating, systemic allergies, and other symptoms of irritable bowel and leaky gut syndrome.
So what does all that mean? Well, when you soak nuts, seeds legumes, and grains, you remove or reduce phytic acid & tannins, neutralize the enzyme inhibitors, encourage the production of beneficial enzymes, increase the amounts of vitamins (especially B vitamins), help facilitate digestion, make the proteins more readily available for absorption, prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss, neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean, and prevent many health diseases and conditions. It may seem like a bit of a tedious step, but it’s well worth it for wellness success!
So how do you do it?
First, use raw organic nuts and seeds wherever possible.
Place the desired nuts in a glass bowl or jar and cover them with warm filtered water and high quality sea salt (roughly 1 tbsp or more of sea salt for 2 cups of nuts).
Keep the bowl at room temperature and cover with a flour sac cloth or thin tea towel that breathes.
Soak the nuts for their recommended amount of time - usually about 8-12 hours depending on the nut (I usually just do it overnight, but have also included a little graph for you to look at).
Drain and rinse thoroughly until the water comes out clear in the final rinse.
Lay nuts on a baking sheet and bake on lowest setting (generally no higher than 150F) for around 12 hours (some may take as long as 24 hours), or until they are dry and slightly crispy (you can also use a dehydrator). You don't want to over-roast or you'll disrupt the nutritious and delicate oils within the nuts!
Refrigerate in a sealable glass container, such as a mason-jar or glass Tupperware.