Why you should soak or sprout your nuts, seeds, grains and legumes

February 14, 2018
Lyndall McAlpine

Phytic acid – the mineral reducer

Eating nuts, seeds, grains and legumes can be healthy and nutritious, however did you know they may be reducing the absorption of critical minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium into your body? This can become a health concern if you are deficient in these minerals, or if your diet is largely based on these foods.

Phytic acid is naturally present in most nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, with the highest levels found in rice bran, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, and walnuts. it’s the plant’s storage form of the mineral phosphorus and is used as energy when the plant starts to grow.

Phytic acid binds to the minerals iron, zinc, and calcium from your meal, preventing them from being fully absorbed (note – once digested, there is no mineral reduction on any future meals and there is no impact to the minerals your body has already absorbed).

Phytic acid’s health benefits

Phytic acid isn’t all bad, it has some health benefits too.

It can act as an antioxidant, helping reduce your risk of kidney stones, heart disease, and even some cancers.

Because it loves minerals (which are metals), phytic acid in your gut can also bind to any heavy metals (the metals we don’t want too much of) that may have hitched a ride with your food.

How to reduce phytic acid

If you eat a varied diet, and nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes aren’t your main foods at most meals, then phytic acid shouldn’t be a huge concern. Because many of these are nutritious foods, you probably don’t want to cut all of them completely out of your diet, however you may still want to reduce how much phytic acid you consume so you can increase your mineral intake. So how can you do this?

Soaking and sprouting are two popular methods to naturally reduce phytic acid in certain foods.

Because being wet is a “sign” to leave their dormant (dry) state and start a new life, enzymes activated during soaking and sprouting deactivate phytic acid to use its energy and stored minerals for the plant as it begins to grow.

Soaking and sprouting is easy:

  • Soaking – Place nuts, seeds, grains or legumes in a bowl, cover with water and leave overnight. Then drain the water and rinse before eating or preparing.
  • Sprouting – After soaking, draining, and rinsing, place damp nuts, seeds, grains or legumes into a container that’s exposed to the air (like a mason jar with a mesh lid). Every 8 hours or so, re-rinse them and drain the water. Continue doing this for a few days until you see sprouts peeking out.

Added bonus: soaked nuts blend up smoother than hard and crunchy dry ones making them more suitable for smoothies. But this doesn’t mean you have to have soggy nuts, you can dry them and they taste just as delicious.

I soak my nuts before making my Yummy gluten free, grain free nutola/meusli in my dehydrator (you can use oven also)

here’s the recipe

 

 

 

 

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