Mmmm, nuts! Seeds! Grains! Legumes! These are like nature’s ready-made snacks just for us. These wonderful things come PACKED with nutrients and health properties that fit right into the diet of a healthy lifestyle.

Nutrient Bioavailability of Nuts, Seeds, Grains, and Legumes

But you can make them work even harder for you! Sometimes it’s difficult for our bodies to get the nutrients out of these foods. Eating them can put a strain on our digestion, which is the opposite effect of what we want. The process of soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes is what really makes their good stuff available to our bodies.

Raw nuts and seeds contain something called phytic acid. This protects them in their natural state, but is detrimental to humans when eaten in the form of raw nuts and seeds. Our bodies don’t produce the necessary enzymes to break down phytic acid, so eating raw nuts and seeds (same is true for legumes and grains) can actually inhibit nutrient absorption [3].

Yummy Dehydrated Brazil NutsSoaking nuts and seeds in salt-water neutralizes phytates and enzyme inhibitors. Soaking takes the bad part of nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes out of the picture, almost like a key removing the padlock, opening up a treasure chest full of, in this case, proteins, minerals, and healthy fats! [1]

How To…

Here’s how to go about soaking your nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes:

Step 1 – Soak your grain, nut, bean or seed in filtered water. Make sure the water is double the amount of grain, nut, bean or seed, because it will be absorbed a bit. Leave the bowl or jar on your countertop at room temperature for the specified time for your desired Soaking Food. If it calls for a long soaking time, then you’ll need to change the water once or twice. Refer to this helpful chart for soaking times.

dehydrator-cauliflower-popcornStep 2 – Drain the liquid and cook your grain or bean normally (it will have a shorter cooking time). Eat your nut and/or seed plain, roast them if you desire. It’s safe! You can also make nut/seed milk or nut/seed butter at this point. You also have the option to dehydrate the grain, bean, nut or seed, but keep in mind that they will not last as long at room temperature and last longer frozen after they’ve been soaked and dehydrated. [2]. If you are going to use your oven to dehydrate, keep the temperature below 150 degrees.

Despite of what this helpful chart says, I soak nuts, seeds, and legumes for 48 hours. I change water once. My go-to are walnuts (omega 3) and Brazil nuts (selenium), and pumpkin seeds (zinc). Two to three times a year, I cook lentils–yes, in my crockpot. I also soak lentils for 48-hours. If I don’t soak these foods, I get bloated and have gas 🙁 Plus, walnuts taste way much better after applying this process.

Normally, I make a big batch and dehydrate all together to save time. I store in glass jars. I apply the following dehydrating times:

  • Brazil nuts: 14-16 hours.
  • Walnuts: 10 hours.
  • Pumpkin seeds: 7 hours.

Yet, I do not bother to remove seeds or walnuts earlier. I let them hang out together until Brazil nuts are ready.

If you share any negative side effects of nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, I recommend you try this trick!