Nuts are a healthy, easy snack and can provide quick protein when energy lags. They also provide good fats, containing 60 to 80% of their calorie content in the form of fat. For those with no digestive issues, raw nuts in small quantities are relatively easy to digest and pose no health issues. However, to maximize the nutrients found in nuts and improve digestibility, it is recommended to first soak nuts in a combination of sea salt and filtered water for several hours, drain and then dry at low temperatures for 12-24 hours. What this process does is reduce the levels of phytic acid and numerous enzyme inhibitors which can strain the digestive system. Soaking or sprouting nuts also improves the nutrient availability of nuts.
We can learn from traditional cultures tremendous wisdom on food preparation. They passed on traditional ways of preparing all of their food which enhanced nutrition and kept future generations healthy and strong. The Aztecs practiced soaking pumpkin or squash seeds in brine and then letting them dry in the sun before eating them.
Soaked and dried/sprouted nuts are available in many health food stores. They can also be ordered online at Wilderness Family Naturals, which follows the guidelines of Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. Soaked and dried nuts can also be made quite easily by following the recipe below. They are also less expensive when making your own.
Recipe for Soaking Nuts
- Mix nuts with salt and filtered water and leave in warm place for 7 hours or overnight
- Drain in colander
- Spread nuts on a stainless steel pan and place in a warm oven (150-170 degrees)
- Turn nuts occasionally with spoon
- Keep in oven for 12-24 hours, until dry and crisp.
- Store in air tight container, once cooled, for several months.
- For maximum freshness, store in refrigerator. (Walnuts should always be kept in refrigerator due to their high amounts of unsaturated linolenic acid, making them more susceptible to rancidity)
Note: Fallon’s directions state that the oven should be no more than 150 degrees. I have been using my oven at 170 degrees and my nuts are usually dry and crisp after 12 hours. A dehydrator may also be used.
Variations: Almonds call for 1 tablespoon sea salt. Cashews (only use raw whole cashews) also call for 1 tbs. sea salt, but should be soaked for 6 hours, then placed in warm oven set at 200 degrees for 12-24 hours.
Resources for this article include:
Fallon, Sally, Nourishing Traditions, New Trends Publishing, 2001
Price, Weston, Nutrition and Physical Degneration, Price-Pottenger Foundation Publisher
Written by Michelle, Holistic Health to Go