As some of you may have noticed I have mentioned in a few of my recipes about soaking nuts and dehydrating them. Why is this important? It would seem silly to soak nuts then dehydrate them but there are some really important reasons to do this.
1. Nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors.
The reason your nuts and seeds do not spontaneously grow into a plant in your cupboard is because they contain enzyme inhibitors. Enzyme inhibitors protect the nut or seed from growing in an unfavorable environment.
2. Enzyme inhibitors prevent optimal nutritional absorption.
These enzyme inhibitors while great for the nuts and seeds are not so great for our digestive system. These prevent or ‘inhibit’ our digestive enzymes from digesting the nuts or seeds well. This prevents us from absorbing a lot of the nutrition in the nuts and seeds.
3. How to prepare soaked nuts:
a) Soaking nuts and seeds helps to remove the enzyme inhibitors. Once the seeds have been soaked for a specific time (depends on the type) the enzyme inhibitors are released in the soaking water. Once the nuts have been soaked you can then dehydrate them (if you prefer your nuts dry) at 115F to ensure the enzymes remain active.
b) Soaking then fermenting also increases nutritional content and digestibility. You can ferment soaked seeds by soaking them and blending them then leaving them to naturally ferment (or add a probiotic culture to speed up the process).
4. Soaking nuts and seeds allows the nutrition in the seeds to increase multifold making it more bioavailable to the body.
Proteins are reduced to amino acids, carbohydrates are reduced to simple sugars and fats are reduced to fatty acids. The reduced macronutrients are ‘pre-digested’ which is easier for the body to assimilate thus making digestion easier. With improved digestion our body expends less energy on digestion (a very high energy demand on the body) and it can divert the ‘saved’ energy on other bodily processes such as making your skin healthier, having shiny hair, eliminating cancer causing cells, improved energy etc.
5. Soaked nuts and seeds are more alkaline in the body. We need to maintain an overall alkaline body pH. Read more here.
Getting the most nutrition:
In order to get the most nutritional value, it is imperative to buy raw nuts and seeds to gain the most benefit. Dead or heated nuts and seeds will not sprout. For example hulling of seeds can render the seed dead since hulling is usually made easier with steam. Make sure seeds and nuts are labeled raw and are not heated over 115F.
A note on raw almonds from California
As of 2007 the US passed a law that required California almonds be flash pasteurized. These almonds are still labelled raw even though they are not technically raw. I will admit that I still buy almonds from California but I try to ensure they are organic. I have found a few places in Toronto (Qi and The Big Carrot) that carry almonds from either Spain or Italy which under European law are not flash pasteurized and are raw!
Living Foods Lifestyle Textbook
Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis