Why do you need to soak nuts?
The health benefits of nuts are well known; everyone who is interested in healthy lifestyle snacks on nuts and seeds (if they are not allergic to them, of course!). But do we really get as much nutrients from them, as the nutrition facts labels say, when we eat them raw? Sadly, the answer is no. Nuts and seeds contain antinutrients, which do not allow the body to absorb their nourishing substances fully. Also, for those of us who eat them regularly, they can be quite rough on our digestive system.
How to get more nutrients from nuts?
The antinutrients that nuts and seeds contain are called phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. They are naturally occurring chemicals and are beneficial for the nuts, as they prevent them from prematurely sprouting for example, but for us they can have some downsides. The antinutrients have the ability to bind to minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, and calcium and slow down or prevent their absorption. That means that less minerals are available for the body and their health benefits are significantly less than they could be. The natural chemicals can also reduce the digestibility of the nuts, which is why this great snack can make us feel heavy or bloated.
In order to break down those natural chemicals, nuts need to be activated, which means that they are being soaked in salty water. The soaking times vary depending on the type of nuts; almonds for example need 12 hours, walnuts about 8 hours etc. The salt in the water helps to activate the enzymes that break down and neutralize the enzyme inhibitors. When they have been activated, nuts become easier to digest, the body is able to absorb more of their goodness, and their protein and vitamin content increases.
Tasty and crunchy
I understand that a great snack doesn’t only have to be healthy, it also has to taste good. When I first tried activated nuts, I was impressed by how delicious they were. Nuts like almonds and walnuts can taste slightly bitter sometimes. Soaking not only makes them good for your heallth, it also improves their taste – which becomes very mild.
Nutmad’s activated nuts are dehydrated at low temperatures. The drying time, like soaking, depends on the type of nuts. Almonds are quite pretentious, it takes over 24 hours to get them really crispy. They are worth the wait though, because they taste delicious and our customers appreciate the crunch.
Since nuts have their own amazing taste, we don’t smother them in seasoning. Our first products were plain and salted almonds, whereas the latter are very slightly seasoned. We’re very excited to be launching some new products soon, such as salted maple caramel walnuts and maple and rosemary cashews, where the additional flavouring is again very delicate.
Who can benefit from activated nuts?
Basically, anyone who eats nuts as a snack or uses them in cooking and baking can benefit from activated nuts. Personally, I feel quite full and heavy after eating non-activated nuts. During pregnancy I was eating lots of almonds to avoid heartburn, and there was a few cases that made me feel nauseous.
As a great source of protein, nuts and seeds are an important part of vegan and vegetarian diets. In this case activated nuts can be particularly beneficial, since they are consumed in larger quantities and on a regular basis. If you are anything like me, not vegan or vegetarian, just mad about nuts and enjoying healthy and good tasting food, you may find yourself snacking on nuts any time of the day. Activated nuts make you feel good even if you get carried away.
Eating protein rich food is very important for pregnant women. Especially if they are pregnant with twins like I was, and a handful of soaked almonds daily can help reduce allergies in babies. Macadamia is rich in folate, which is essential during pregnancy. Just be careful with drying at high temperatures, since folates can be destroyed by the heat. Walnuts can help boost the baby’s brain functions, such as learning abilities and memory and breastfeeding women need a lot of nutrients like Vitamin E, Vitamin B2, B3, and B1. These, and other substances like Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc can be found in almonds.
If you’d like to learn more about Nutmad and our wonderful activated nuts, check out the link below.
Michaela Hardt, Founder of Nutmad