Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Nutrition Info – Soaking (Activating) Nuts and Seeds
There’s been quite a bit of talk (and some confusion) around an easy, ready to go snack idea – nuts and seeds.
Many clients groan when I tell them that after purchasing their RAW nuts and seeds, to fully utilize the nutrition they offer, you must soak them. I stress RAW as “roasted” nuts and seeds aren’t as easy to digest and the benefits derived from soaking is null and void if they’ve already been roasted.
Soaking your nuts and seeds begins the process of sprouting, which “wakes” the seeds into a living state, making their nutrients more available to digest. Some refer to this as “activating” the seeds, I like and use that term.
Some types of dried nuts and seeds, such as almonds, contain enzyme inhibitors which can be removed through the process of soaking. And, if they soak long enough to begin sprouting, don’t worry. The sprouts are also very easy to digest and, as well, they’re considered alkaline – optimal in keeping the body healthy.
Without soaking your nuts and seeds, your digestive system takes several hours to digest them. The longer a food sits in your digestive system, the more chance you have of unbalancing the body and creating fermentation in your digestive tract. This, in turn, creates too much yeast (candida). As well, the body is spending far too much energy digesting your food. So, as a result, you’ll feel less energized during the day, for your workouts or just to keep up with everything else going on.
When soaking, place the nuts and seeds in a glass jar or container with a lid. The unsoaked seeds should take up no more than half the space in the container as they expand in size when wet. Fill the container with at least double the ratio of water to seeds/nuts, leaving extra water. If the soaking seeds/nuts swell above the water line, add more water to the container.
All nuts and seeds should be soaked at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours or longer. After 8 hours they should be placed in the fridge where they can remain soaking for a number of days before being used. Drain the soaked nuts and seeds by pouring them into a colander and rinsing them thoroughly with fresh water before drying or for use in a recipe.
If you like them crunchy, you can then dehydrate the activated nuts and seeds at a low temperature (115 degrees) for around 12 hours (depending on how crunchy you want them). If you don’t have a dehydrator, use your oven at its lowest setting. Roasting the nuts/seeds will give you the same flavour as buying them that way. Except, now they’ve been “awakened” and soaked to rid them of the enzyme inhibitors. To add variety, you can toss them with your favourite spice.
Activated nuts and seeds can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. I try to plan to soak over the weekend and have them ready to consume all week long. I’ll also put some of my soaked nuts and seeds in small serving size glass containers and freeze them for future use.
Recommended Soaking Times
Chia Seeds – soak at least 2 hours
Buckwheat groats and sesame seeds – soak at least 4 hours
Pumpkin, sunflower, cashews and flax seeds – soak at least 8 hours
ALL other nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) – soak at least 12 hours