There was a time when nuts were simply eaten at Christmas or from a KP packet when you needed a snack, to “soak up the booze”. Oh dear, was that just me?! Well as part of a plant based diet, it’s important to know your onions so to speak. Should you soak nuts.
Why It Might Help To Soak Nuts.
Nuts do contain quite a bit of phytic acid. If you eat loads and you don’t do anything about the levels you will end up with mineral absorption problems.This is particularly true in relation to calcium and iron.
The effects are reduced by soaking your nuts.
There are loads of articles around explaining why soaking nuts releases the enzyme inhibitors they contain. These articles tend to give the impression that enzyme inhibitors are the only thing to worry about. The good news is that, soaking reduces the levels of phytates as well as enzyme inhibitors. Also, if you dehydrate your nuts after soaking or lightly heating them (I get that this is starting to sound like a lot of work) you can reduce phytates yet further. Heat them too much and you will kill the enzymes.
Personally I don’t think you should get too hung up about the whole phytate thing. Phytic acid is present in many cereals and pulses as well as nuts and seeds. It’s a case of everything in moderation as usual.
Indulge me. I want to say one more thing about almonds. It is only really relevant if you are a dedicated raw foodie with an eye on the enzyme levels in your food. I was taught that any almond emerging from California (production is huge) has been pasteurised. Apparently it’s a legal requirement. The downside of this is that the heating process kills the enzymes in the nuts. The upside is that it reduces phytates.
Should I Soak Nuts If They Are Pasteurised?
Well I’d say if your Almonds come from California only soak them if you want to soften or peel them. Talking about that here is like disappearing down a rabbit hole so if you are curious about why you might want to peel your almonds the link below deals with reasons; at the bottom of the page.
Now For The Nut Controversy. Yes Really??!!
I won’t get into argument about whether a cashew nut can ever truly be raw or not (ie still containing it’s enzymes). I was taught they cannot but many people say the nut can be removed from the shell without roasting. Who knows?
I do think is important to bear in mind that all nuts are very acidic.This is important because there is evidence to suggest chronic disease is more likely to rear it’s ugly head in an acidic environment. Cashews are especially high on the acidity ometer.
Let’s face it everyone loves a raw desserts but sorry, let’s not kid ourselves, many are not “healthy.”
Just as an aside when you soak this nut you can expect it to go very soggy.
Sorry Doom Monger Alert! One More Thing!
It’s a shame I know, because as well as the KP confession, I am as partial to a Satay sauce as the next person but peanuts are really the one nut you should have ultra sparingly. They are the nut most likely to give rise to an allergic response. More importantly they have been found to be predisposed to a toxin called Aflatoxin which is basically a cancer causing mold. I honestly have no idea how it works with regards to exports and testing etc. Nevertheless, aside from the odd Satay I tend to avoid peanuts.
Is There No Good News?
Yes of course.
Three brazil nuts a day will give you your daily requirement of selenium and many of us are low in this mineral.
Ah and my favourite. I couldn’t cope without it.
The coconut. It is actually pretty low on the phytate front and as far as this is concerned there reason to soak the nut. Coconut milk is my staple milk.