Nuts and seeds can be a valuable source of non animal protein. However, these tasty treats also contain extremely high levels of phytic acid, a form of the mineral phosphorus that is in many grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
Though phytic acids can help to reduce cholesterol and provide valuable antioxidants, too much phytic acid can prevent the body from absorbing and properly digesting valuable minerals, including zinc, calcium, and iron. Fortunately, soaking nuts and seeds can lessen levels of phytic acid and provide these health benefits.
1. Promoting Colon Health
Nuts and seeds are extremely high in fiber, which is a part of food that cannot be digested. This non-digestible material helps to keep the colon and digestive tract healthy by cleaning them of any lingering debris. When you soak nuts and seeds, you can eat larger quantities without consuming too much phytic acid, so you can enjoy all of the beneficial fiber. Nuts and seeds are also easier to digest after being soaked, so the colon does not get irritated or stressed.
2. Preventing Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that can result in cripplingly painful bowel attacks after eating certain foods. Nuts, seeds, and grains contain enzyme inhibitors, which block the enzymes that digest foods. Soaking these foods removes enzyme inhibitors, and therefore prevents nuts and seeds from triggering gastrointestinal issues that can lead to Irritable bowel syndrome attacks.
3. Helping to Digest Gluten
Nuts and seeds are not the only things that benefit from being soaked. If you regularly eat whole grains, soaking them before consuming them activates enzymes that begin to break down gluten. Soaking grains also deactivates enzyme inhibitors which would otherwise prevent the body from properly digesting the grains. By soaking your grains, you can enjoy their benefits without struggling to digest gluten.
4. Blocking Phytic Acid From Absorbing Minerals
The phytic acid in nuts and seeds absorbs minerals that are essential to wellbeing by binding to the minerals and preventing the body from digesting them. Phytic acid can leach zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium from your body, so it is extremely important to remove the phytic acid by soaking nuts and seeds before you eat them. Removing this anti-nutrient ensures that your body can use minerals instead of losing them.
5. Removing Tannins
Tannins are a substance that creates the dry and slightly bitter taste of black tea and red wine. However, many people can be sensitive to tannins and feel queasy or unsettled after eating or drinking them. Soaking nuts removes the tannins fairly quickly, so once the water you soak the nuts in turns darker, the tannins have been removed.
Soaking nuts and seeds is a fairly easy process that does not create excess work. All you have to do to remove phytic acid is soak nuts or seeds in slightly salted water for 7 to 24 hours, and then drain and dry them in an oven or dehydrator at about 150°F . You can add a bit of something acidic, such as lemon juice or yogurt, to the water to facilitate the process, but it is not necessary. In addition to all of the health benefits, nuts and seeds that have been soaked just taste better!