Squirrels are not the only living creatures who are absolutely nuts about nuts. Most people simply adore them, for good reason. These Nature’s tiny nutritional bombs are not only scrumptious for our palate, but our whole body rejoices when we consume them.
They are an abundant source of precious minerals, proteins and omega-3 fats that boost your entire health. They can be eaten raw without any additions, salted and roasted as a delicious crunchy appetizer, or added as a tasty and nutritious enrichment to deserts, salads, or main meals.
If you do not pair them with high-fat sweet and savory toppings, they are also waist-line friendly since they fill you up with their rich fiber content and naturally suppress the appetite. There is one thing, however, that you should have in mind when you consume different kinds of nuts.
Consuming raw nuts can cause stomach irritation and nutrient deficiency.It may surprise you to discover that nuts in their raw form contain significant amounts of phytic acid, which is a sort of phosphorus.
Nature created them in this way to protect the seeds from potential predators before they begin to germinate and to provide antioxidant care for the plants.
Nuts also contain enzymes that do not allow premature sprouting of nuts in their natural environment, which can cause certain problems for human consumption.The organisms of nut-eating animals are naturally adjusted for processing and breaking down these substances.
Since the bodies of humans lack this ability, the phytic acid becomes attached to vital minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc in our digestive organs, preventing them to process the nuts like they should.Furthermore, this can cause other problems in our gastrointestinal tract, like the feeling of heaviness and pain in our lower abdomen. Grains and legumes also contain phytic acid.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to neutralize both the phytic acid and the unwanted enzymes.Soaking removes the harmful compounds and makes nuts easily digestible.Salt water makes all the necessary changes in the nuts, neutralizing the phytic acid and the enzyme inhibitors that obstruct digestion.
Soaking does not remove the precious nutrients from the nuts. On the contrary, it enhances our bodies’ ability to absorb the vital nutrients, while preserving them at the same time. Soaking also activates the production of certain enzymes that ease digestion.
The tradition of soaking nuts with the combination of heat from the sun and seawater has been known and used in different cultures for a long time. Although this practice seems to be too costly and inconvenient for big food manufacturers, we can easily soak nuts at home.
Is soaking nuts absolutely necessary for everyone?
People with a very healthy and strong gastrointestinal system do not usually experience any problems when consuming nuts since their digestive organs can put up with a small quantity of phytic acid and make up for the poorly absorbed minerals with a good quality diet.
If you have digestive problems after consuming nuts and seeds, if your diet consists of bigger amounts of grains, beans and nuts, or if your body is deficient in B-group vitamins and minerals, then soaking nuts is definitely recommendable for you.
How can we soak nuts?
The method is the same for all the nuts and seeds, only the timing can be slightly different depending on the sort of nut. The main steps are as follows:
1. Put 4 cups of raw nuts or seeds into a medium-sized container. If circumstances allow that, it is always recommended that you obtain organic nuts as a much healthier option.
2. Add the necessary amount of filtered water so that the nuts are completely covered in water.
3. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt
4. Cover the container and let it sit for approximately 7 hours
5. After this time, nuts should be rinsed and distributed evenly on a rack to allow dehydration
6. Finally, the nuts should be dried at a temperature around 150 F, either in a dehydrator or in the oven until nuts obtain a crispy texture. The process will take from 12-24 hours.
What about roasting nuts?
Although the crispy texture and the flavor of roasted nuts may appeal to your palate, it definitely does not offer the same benefits as soaking.Poor quality, unhealthy oils are generally used in the production of store-bought fried nuts.
When it comes to dry roasting, the extremely high temperatures used in this process damage the precious nutrients and cause the fats in the nuts to decompose, allowing the harmful activities of free radicals.
What should we do in case we do not have a dehydrator?
Drying nuts and seeds at a low temperature using a dehydrator enables us to keep the quality of the delicate fatty acids and enzymes in the nuts. But this device can often be costly, so not everyone can afford it. Using the oven is definitely possible, as long as you are careful to regulate the proper temperature, 110 F being the ideal heat.
Soaking nuts is definitely worth the effort. Not only will you find that your digestion is significantly improved, but you will be positively surprised by the light crispiness and the amazing flavor that is obtained through this method.