Monday, September 26, 2011

Should you soak nuts before eating?

by:  Tara Fuller

Whether you are a raw-food proponent or just trying to boost your health, eating nuts may help you get to where you want.  Studies show eating a handful of almonds, 30 minutes prior to a meal can substantially decrease the amount of calories a person consume at that meal. This is largely due to the nut's fiber, protein and healthy fat components.  It is a trick, I myself have used for years to help with my weight loss goals.  But it is not the only reason a person should inculcated nuts in their diet.  

Although tiny in size, nuts are packed with heart healthy nutrients.  According to the Mayo Clinic, almonds, walnuts and other nuts, help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a healthy diet; and apparently it doesn't really matter what nut you choose so long as it isn't a Coconut.
"Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts, and it's been shown they contain high amounts of  omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are other nuts that appear to be quite heart healthy. Even peanuts — which are technically not a nut, but a legume, like beans — seem to be relatively healthy. Coconut, which is technically a fruit, may be considered by some to be a nut, but it doesn't seem to have heart-healthy benefits. Both coconut meat and oil don't have the benefits of the mono- and polyunsaturated fats."
As it turns out, what you do with that nut before you eat it can make a difference on how much of its powerful nutrients are absorbed by your body as it digests. This is why many choose to soak raw nuts overnight before eating.

The main reason to soak nuts before eating is to neutralize the Enzyme inhibitors.  These enzyme inhibitors, such as phytic acid are nature's way to protect the nut until proper growing conditions are met with the right amounts of rain and sun; but left as is, makes it difficult to digest and therefore, limiting its nutrient absorption.. When you soak nuts, it mimics nature by releases toxic Enzyme inhibitors that help break down gluten for better digestion and the absorption of more vitamins and minerals. This may be why many people with gluten intolerance are able to eat nuts without a problem.

Soaking times vary depending on the nut.  This chart  by Veggie Wave may be useful for finding just the right amount of soak time.  However, suggested soaking times for your particular nut can easily be found via a simple browser search.

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