Brown nuts, grains and seeds are delicious and good for you and can be made even tastier, more nutritious and easier to digest by soaking and/or sprouting them prior to eating. Soaking Nuts, Seeds, Grains, and Legumes Improves their Nutritional Value and Digestibility.
Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak nuts, grains and seeds.
Inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.
There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”
Phytates “All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, ironand especially zincin the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.” Phytic acid prevents premature germination of the seed and helps the seed to store nutrients for germination and growth. When that seed is consumed, phytic acid impairs mineral absorption.
The tannin compounds are widely distributed in many species of plants, where they play a role in protection from predation, and perhaps also as pesticides, and in plant growth regulation.
Goitrogensare substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, i.e., a goiter.
They are basically carb-binding proteins that can be found in both plants andanimals. Lectins are strong and sturdy proteins that definitely do not break down with ease. Our digestive enzymes and acids do NOT deal with them very well. They can actually stick to the gut wall like gum and the intestines can get quite tacky with it. Not good! As a result, the gut lining will start to develop a type of ‘permeability often referred to as leaky gut. Leaky gut is basically a series of tiny ruptures in the intestinal lining that allows lectins, and partially digested foods to trickle into the bloodstream causing autoimmune deficiencies, and other health problems such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
The most common potentially 'toxic' lectin containing food groups are
· grains, especially wheat and wheat germ but also quinoa, rice, buckwheat, oats, rye, barley, millet and corn.
· legumes (all dried beans, including soy and peanuts),
· dairy (perhaps more so when cows are feed grains instead of grass, a speculation based on research showing transference of lectins into breast milk and dairy.
· nightshade (includes potato, tomato, eggplant and pepper).
Why Do We Need to Soak and/or Sprout Nuts, Seeds and Grains?
1) To remove or reduce phytic acid.
2) To remove or reduce tannins.
3) To remove or reduce lectins.
4) To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
5) To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
6) To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
7) To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
8) To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
9) To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
10) To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
11) To prevent many health diseases and conditions.
Soak and Sprout
The simplest way is to put about 1 cup of RAW nuts, seeds or grains into a bowl and add 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt and filtered water. Soak for the recommended amount of time. Drain and rinse well.
Store the bowl in the dark like an oven or dehydrator kept off. We use our dehydrators at the café. We spread the nuts or seeds on the trays and let them sprout. We like a short rather than a long sprout around 1/8“ long, it tastes better. Once sprouted we dehydrate at 115 °F for 24 hours.
Use a clean sanitized container to soak
Soak 1/3 of nuts, seeds or grains to 2/3 filtered water
Sprout in a dehydrator on a mesh tray or in a container so the water can drain off
Dehydrate to reduce the water content, get the crunch back for the nuts or enough dryness to make a flour
Dehydrate at maximum 115 °F to keep enzymes alive, the good one that is
Brown nuts soak 24 hours rinse well sprout in water dehydrate 24 hours
Buckwheat soak 1 hour rinse well sprout 24 hours dehydrate 20 hours
Chickpea soak 12 hours rinse well sprout 24 hours dehydrate 7 – 9 hours
Quinoa soak 12 hours rinse well sprout 24 hours dehydrate 20 hours