We have all heard the nutritional benefits of whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds. Perhaps we have even made them a staple in our diet because of the perceived benefits. Unfortunately, if you are not preparing your nuts, grains, legumes and seeds in a certain way- you may NOT be getting the nutrients you so desire.
These lovely foods can be stored for quite a long time which is why they are often bought in bulk. Ever wonder what makes them last so long? They all contain anti-nutrients and toxic enzyme inhibitors that protect them from bugs and other elements. Traditional cultures knew that they had to break down that outer layer so the body could absorb the nutrients and make the food digestible. Unfortunately, in the world today we like it easy and we like it fast so we no longer soak or prepare grains, nuts, and legumes, and our bodies are paying for it.
In short, we need to break down and neutralize that outer layer in order for our bodies to be nourished by it. This is where the soaking comes in. When not soaked, our bodies have to work so hard trying to break down that outer layer and the anti-nutrients which is resulting in fatigue, and digestive disorders.
Few Nuggets to Remember: When Not Soaked
- Grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes contain anti-nutrients and toxic enzyme inhibitors known as phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.
- These enzyme inhibitors block the abortion of the minerals and nutrients that are present.
- The numerous enzyme inhibitors put a real strain on the digestive and take a quite a bit of energy for our body to break down.
- “Phytic acid not only grabs on to or chelates important minerals, but also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food, including pepsin,1 needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach, and amylase,2 needed for the breakdown of starch into sugar. Trypsin, needed for protein digestion in the small intestine, is also inhibited by phytates.” (source)
What Happens When Nuts, Grains, and Seeds are Soaked
- Soaking activates the sprouting process and increases the enzyme and amino acid content, thus making it twice as nutrient dense.
- *Tannins is removed.
- *Neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors.
- *Encourages the production of beneficial enzymes.
- *Increases the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
- *Breaks down gluten and makes digestion MUCH easier.
- *Makes the proteins more readily available for absorption.
- *Prevents mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
Here is a great video explaining in detail the importance of soaking, and how to do so with different grains/legumes
and here for soaking and preparing nuts.
Good news, the proper preparation is not hard at all. You just need a neutralizing acidic medium like lemon juice, cider vinegar, baking soda, yogurt, or whey to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors of grains, nuts, and legumes.
Examples of Proper Preparation
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons lemon juice, cider vinegar, or whey
*Combine all ingredients Soak over night
*Add one cup of addition water and bring to a boil
*Reduce heat and cover,Let simmer for several minutes, Enjoy!
2 cups brown rice
4 cups filtered water
4 tablespoons yogurt, whey, lemon juice, or cider vinegar
*Combine all ingredients
*Soak a minimum of 7 hours
*Bring to boil, Skim off foam
*Reduce heat, Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes
*Add butter and sea salt, Enjoy!
1 cup of black beans
2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
*Cover beans with warm water and stir in lemon juice, cider vinegar, or whey
*Leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours
*Drain, rinse, and place in a large pot- add enough water to cover the beans
*Bring to a boil and skim off foam
*Reduce Heat, simmer for 4-8 hours.