Soaking nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes
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 our nuts,
grains and seeds. Nutritional 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. What are
Enzyme inhibitors?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.” What are
Phytates?“All grains contain phytic
acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with
calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in 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.” Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?
1. To remove or reduce phytic
2. To remove or reduce tannins.
3. To neutralize the enzyme
4. To encourage the production
of beneficial enzymes.
5. To increase the amounts of
vitamins, especially B vitamins.
6. To break down gluten and make
7. To make the proteins more
readily available for absorption.
8. To prevent mineral
deficiencies and bone loss.
9. To help neutralize toxins in
the colon and keep the colon clean.
10. To prevent many health
diseases and conditions.
“Soaking allows enzymes,
lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large
portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme
inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous
beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of
many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and
fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken
down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.” What can be
used to soak nuts, grains and seeds?I have found many references
to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water
mixture with something acidic like yogurt, whey or lemon juice. It seems within
7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are
broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the
process works when you see sprouting begin. How long
does the soaking process take?“As little as seven hours of
soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid
in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains
overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.” “Flour products
should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours but better
results may be obtained with a twenty-four hour soaking.” Are the nuts, grains and seeds used wet?I have enjoyed almonds wet. If
you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches
and store them in the refrigerator. Usually everything that is soaked is dried
in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 48 hours to
remove all moisture. Wheat berries can be soaked
whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole
berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food
processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or
dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a
variety of recipes. Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up
to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried. Any advice on what to do with legumes?Maureen Diaz recommends
soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours
before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for
thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten free diet. One recommendation includes
placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking
legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for
improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. “Soak
legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume.
For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas
require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer.
Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic
acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster
cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and
trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard
the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam.
Continue to boil for twenty minutes without lid at beginning of cooking to let
steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).”