Nuts are nature’s best power-packed foods. Not only do they provide immense energy but also a plethora of other beneficial nutrients thereby making each calorie more meaningful. However, many individuals who can afford a variety of nuts and oilseeds shy away from them thinking that they can lead to weight gain and also produce excessive heat in the body.
Firslty, its a myth that nuts or dried fruits lead to weight gain https://blog.ekincare.com/2015/11/15/does-consuming-nuts-make-one-fat/
The next issue is a valid concern. Nuts do not contain much moisture as they are dehydrated to improve shelf life. Hence the process of their digestion in the stomach may be longer and accompanied by more heat production
Soaking offers a solution to this problem. Soaking of nuts has the following advantages:
- Removes the dust and residues sticking to the skin
- Washes away the tannins present in the skin
- Improve digestibility due to removal of skin and enzyme inhibitors
- Increase bioavailability of nutrients especially zinc and iron which are often bound to phytates
- Soaking almonds releases enzyme lipase which is beneficial for digestion of fats.
How much soaking?
Soak overnight in sufficient water for about 6-8 hours . Although this is ideal, even 4 hour soaking time is fair enough.
Almonds: 7-12 hours
Brazil nuts: 7-12 hours
Hazel nuts: 7-9 hours
Pecans: 7-8 hours
Pine nuts: No soaking required
Pumpkin seeds: 7-10 hours
Sunflower seeds: 7-12 hours
Walnuts: 7-9 hours
Soaking has been done only for almonds so far, but other nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, hazelnut, etc also can be soaked to improve digestibility. Soaked almonds are a great source of folic acid – an essential vitamin for the proper development of the fetus’s brain and neurological system. The astringent and sharp taste of walnuts is reduced due to soaking as the tannins in the skin are washed away.
Phytates is known as a food inhibitor which binds micronutrient and prevents them from being absorbed into the body because we lack enzyme phytase in digestive tract. pre-treatment methods such as fermentation, soaking, germination are simple household measures that can help reduce phytate content of cereals and grains.