As a veggie, I eat a lot of nuts and seeds. People worry because of their high calorie content; but a handful here and there can provide you with lots of benefits. Not only are they a great source of protein, they also contain some other useful & healthy bits and bobs:
- Unsaturated fats which help lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – these are a healthy form of fatty acids which help your heart, are an anti-inflamatory (great if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis), assist with baby development and have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to old age as well as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Fiber – helps with digestion, stabilising blood sugar levels & lowering cholesterol levels.
- Vitamin E – protects the body against toxins.
- Plant sterols – these are natural fatty substances found in all plants. Also known as phytosterols, they provide cholesterol control, prostate relief and provide immune function improvement.
- L-arginine – Nitric oxide is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and also improves circulation. Some evidence shows that arginine may help improve blood flow in the arteries of the heart.
So back to the reason why I’m writing this post – why do I soak my nuts and seeds and is it necessary? The answer to the latter part of the question is absolutely! Nuts, as well as grains and legumes, have phytic acid in them. Phytic acid is often considered as an anti-nutrient because it binds minerals in the digestive tract. This means they can’t be absorbed into the intestine which can lead to deficiencies.
By soaking nuts you break down the phytic acid and neutralise the enzymes, allowing for proper digestion.
Cover your nuts in salt water. I recommend grey natural sea salt which is a great source of minerals. The salt is necessary to neutralise the enzymes. I leave the nuts in the water for about four hours. The place them on a tray and dry them in the over for around 2 hours at a temperature of 50 degrees celsius. I don’t have a dehydrator but I have heard and read that they are fantastic for this too.
I’ve found that by doing this to my nuts their taste is enhanced. They have a slightly crispier texture and generally taste better. If you haven’t tried this before, I’d recommend giving it a go!