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Soak Seeds and Nuts for Proper Digestion
by Jason McNabb

Soaking Almonds

Soak almonds for 12-24 hours

Getting the most out of the least is the objective of, and common thread between, every component of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE® method. If we follow this thread past the garden gate and into the kitchen, we have a chance to get more of what we need (nutrition) out of any given harvest and, therefore, out of any given amount of land. This article hopes to be the first in a series on how, with a little more effort, we can optimize nutrient uptake, limit our body’s digestive energy output, and get more of what we need from less, by working with our food’s natural makeup.

 Seeds and Nuts

While seeds and nuts are excellent sources of protein and Omega 3, ‘good’ fatty acids, soaking seeds and nuts is essential for proper digestion and nutrient uptake by the body.

Why Soak Seeds and Nuts before Consuming

Every seed and nut contain digestive and metabolic enzymes. “Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the seed, and the human body, does.” 4 When released, these enzymes increase the break-down of stored food, fueling the creation of roots, leaves, and life-support systems in the plant.

Nature also provides every seed with a water-soluble enzyme inhibitor, called phytic acid, which keeps the seed from breaking down until enough rainfall guarantees the seed has a decent chance of surviving and also binds the minerals calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and especially zinc together. 6 In the presence of water, phytic acid is leached out of the seed, and the enzyme action begins. However, the phytic acid also inhibits the absorption of nutrients by the body, because it binds to the above nutrients, just as it does in the seed, and keeps their nutritional value from being available to the body. If we soak seeds and nuts in water before eating them, the phytic acid is released, and the enzyme inhibitor removed, making the nutrients in the seeds and nuts available.

Procedure for Soaking Seeds and Nuts

Soak seeds or nuts at room temperature.1
Use a glass, porcelain or stainless steel bowl.
Cover with approximately twice as much water as seeds/nuts. Only one source 5 recommends adding salt to the soak water to properly inhibit phytic acid.
Cover with a breathable cloth.
Soaking time depends on both the size and density of the seed/nut:

2 – 4 hours for small seed.
Up to 8 hours for dense almonds.
Generally, a soak of just 15 minutes will release 50% of enzyme inhibitors in most nuts. 

Drain and rinse every 3-4 hours 1 to every couple of days. 3
Discard water which contains the water-soluble phytic acid.
Rinse seeds/nuts.

Dry seeds/nuts to ensure mold does not form; this may be done at room temperature as long as there is air movement and should not be done at a temperature higher than 150 degrees F (ideally below 120 degrees F).

Enjoy getting more from less!






5. Fallon, Sally: Nourishing Traditions: The Book That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats




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