Soaking nuts and seeds has many health benefits. Find out how I do it using ingredients already in my kitchen and why it’s so important for digestion.
- Written by Genevieve Howland
- Updated on October 16, 2019
I soak all of my nuts and seeds before eating them, and want to know: Have you tried it?
If not, this post will help you learn how to do it, plus explain why you would want to soak nuts and seeds in the first place.
What are phytates and why shouldn’t we eat too many?
Phosphorus is stored in many plant cells as phytic acid. When phytic acid bonds with a mineral in the nut or seed, it’s called phytate. These phytates are called “anti-nutrients” by many healthy living advocates, because they make it hard for our bodies to absorb minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Because phytates are also enzyme inhibitors, they can make it harder to digest protein, fats, and starches, too.
By properly preparing seeds, you can reduce the amount of phytates. This can make the seeds you consume more nutritious and easier to digest. Nuts are a little trickier though. We don’t know for sure how to remove phytates from nuts, though experts argue it’s still worth treating the same way you would seeds, since much anecdotal evidence suggests soaked nuts are easier to digest. Ramiel Nagel writes:
“Based on the accumulation of evidence, soaking nuts for eighteen hours, dehydrating at very low temperatures—a warm oven—and then roasting or cooking the nuts would likely eliminate a large portion of phytates.”
Is there any benefit to phytates?
Strangely enough, it seems that phytates can be beneficial. Phytates can act as antioxidants in the body and some research shows that phytic acid may reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, insulin resistance, and Hemochromatosis (iron overload).
Soaking nuts and seeds
- 4 cups of nuts or seeds of choice
- 8 cups of filtered water
- 1 tablespoon of high quality sea salt
Cover your nuts or seeds with filtered water and salt. Let soak overnight (18 to 24 hours).
Drying your soaked nuts and seeds
A dehydrator is ideal, because the low temperature will ensure your nuts and seeds retain as much of their nutritional quality as possible, however, an oven at the lowest possible temperature (generally about 150 to 200 degrees) will work too.
Drain your nuts and seeds. I let them sit for a while to get as much water off as possible.
Add the nuts and seeds to your dehydrator sheets. Spread them out, so there is plenty or space for the air to circulate.
Dehydrate at about 110 degrees for 24 hours.
Storing your soaked nuts and seeds
You can store your nuts and seeds in glass containers in a cabinet for up to six months. If you haven’t used your nuts and seeds and the six-month mark is approaching, simply toss them in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain freshness.
How about you?
Have you ever soaked your food? Is the method you use similar to the method I use? How do you do it? I’d love to hear all about how you soak your nuts and seeds. Tell me more in the comments below.