THE IMPORTANCE OF SOAKING LEGUMES, NUTS AND SEEDS
WHY THE SOAKING PROCESS IS IMPORTANT
Legumes, nuts and seeds are filled with many nutrients, most of which are beneficial to our health. However, some can also potentially cause negative effects. These types of foods contain phytic acid, which can affect important minerals in our body (calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron) by binding to them before they are absorbed, thereby reducing their absorption. Phytic acid also inhibits enzyme activity, so proper digestion is disrupted.
Soaking can reduce the amount of phytic acid in your body and promote proper enzyme production, making food easier to digest and absorb. Without taking the extra step of soaking these items, you may experience adverse gastrointestinal symptoms.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE SOAKING PROCESS?
By soaking beans, nuts and seeds, we are actually starting the sprouting process that neutralizes phytic acid through phytase activity. This releases the nutrients and makes them transportable and absorbable in the body too. Also, soaking enhances the production of beneficial enzymes, bacteria and other microorganisms that help you digest starches, proteins and fats. All the seeds become softer, more digestible and nutritious.
HOW TO SOAK NUTS, SEEDS AND LEGUMES
Soaking nuts and seeds: Use a stainless steel or glass container. Place the desired amount of raw nuts and seeds into the container and completely cover them with filtered or spring water. The water should sit about three fingers higher than the nuts/seeds. Add 1-2 flat teaspoons of sea or Himalayan salt, stir and let them soak for up to 24 hours in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Drain, rinse add them to your meals or let them air-dry completely and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Another option is to dry them in a dehydrator or oven at low temperature (no higher than 65 degrees Celsius/150 degrees Fahrenheit) because high temperatures will destroy the enzymes and nutrients. If you dry them using this method, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Soaking legumes: Rinse them thoroughly, cover with warm water and let them soak for 12-24 hours. Drain, rinse and then add them to a pot of filtered or mineral water. You may add kombu, an edible seaweed for a flavor boost. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam, and then let them simmer gently for 4-8 hours.
Some legumes, such as green or red lentils and split peas, do not need to be soaked.
Legumes, nuts and seeds are essential staples for a plant-based diet. Soaking them before consuming them can enhance their digestibility and thus increase your nutrient absorption.