Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sprouting Nuts-- its not nuts!

I remember the first time I heard of soaking nuts....and I thought "well that's weird and unnecessary". The beauty of life is how we can learn and then change :-).

Sprouting or soaking nuts is not...nuts! In fact there are various health benefits to soaking nuts. Soaking legumes has been more commonly understood, as it breaks down much of the starch and other toxins. Soaking raw nuts is actually similar. Raw nuts contain phytic acid, and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid is more abundant in grains but is also found in nuts. Phytic acid is a mineral chelator, which in plain English means that it flushes important minerals from your body-- like calcium, zinc and magnesium--no good. Enzymes in your body aid in digestion and nutrient absorption; so they are essential to get all the benefits from that nutritious food I know you're eating.
I can hear you asking, "well, Whitney, why don't we just eat roasted nuts then?". Roasting nuts adds Omega 6 oils, which would not be a bad thing if American did not already over consume Omega 6's. The average amount of Omega 6's consumed by American causes inflammation among other nasty things. Roasting them also breaks down the Omega 3s and other key nutrients.
This brings us to sprouting raw nuts. Soaking raw nuts for 24 hours will break down both the phytic acid and the enzyme inhibitors. Which pretty much makes nut perfect! Adding a small amount of salt to the soaking water aids in effectiveness and can add some flavor. Native South Americans have traditionally soaked their nuts in sea water and laid them out to be dehydrated by the sun. Once your nuts have soaked for 24 hours remove from water, spread them out on a cookie sheet and leave in the oven on the "warm" setting overnight. You'll have great, digestible, healthy nuts waiting for your breakfast. I was particularly surprised by the cashews that turned purple during the sprouting process...whooo know? Even if you don't eat them, they really look beautiful. Enjoy!