Is Activating Nuts Necessary?
Why do we activate nuts
Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which prevents them from germinating prematurely when the environmental conditions are not right. However, these chemicals are not beneficial for human health. Phytic acid binds to minerals such as zinc, iron and manganese and prevent the absorption of these minerals in our body. The enzyme inhibitors also work on our digestive enzymes, preventing proper digestion and absorption. Thus, consuming large quantities of raw nuts could lead to feelings of fullness and heaviness in the stomach, and it stresses the digestive system.
Nuts are soaked in water because this helps to activate enzymes that can break down and neutralize the enzyme inhibitors, resuming the absorption of nutrients in your body. These enzyme inhibitors were naturally formed when the nuts were not ready to germinate. However, now that the nuts are soaked, it causes their innate germination, or sprouting process to start. Germination is the process of the natural sprouting of a nut or seed when the conditions are suitable, usually after lying dormant for a period of time. Hence, we call the nuts activated as they are beginning to germinate.
How to activate nuts
- Put the nuts, grains, and legumes (2 cups) into a large bowl.
- Pour in filtered water mixed with around 2 teaspoons of seasalt.
- The nuts, grains and legumes should be completely submerged in the saltwater. This is to allow the ingredients to soak the saltwater fully, otherwise mould may grow.
- Different types of nuts and seeds need different soaking durations.
12- 14 hours:
- After soaking, drain away the excess water. The legumes and grains can be cooked and eaten.
- Spread the nuts onto the dehydrator tray or baking tray.
- Set your oven temperature to the lowest temperature possible, or at 65 degrees.
- If you are using a dehydrator, you can dry them for around 12 -24 hours.
- The nuts are ready when they are completely dried up.
It is important that your nuts are fully dried before storing them, or else they may turn mouldy. You should try some nuts to see if they are completely dried. Once they dried, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or the freezer. They should be kept at low temperatures so as to preserve their nutritional value and to prevent rancidity. You should also try consuming them within 24-48 hours of the activation process as they are more susceptible of becoming mouldy.
Is it necessary?
Phytic acid is commonly found in food, especially the plant-based ones such as vegetables. It may not be all bad, as it depends on the way you mix your food together. Phytic acid has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions which may help to reduce kidney stones and blood glucose levels. When consuming phytic acid-rich food, you need to combine food rich in vitamin C as vitamin C helps in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients. For instance, you should eat almonds and cashews with tomatoes or apples, as the vitamin C in these fruits can help in the absorption of iron in these nuts.
It is also not necessary to consume activated nuts if you only consume it in small amounts. You can still gain the desired minerals, fibers, healthy fats and vitamin E and vitamin B from nuts that are not activated. However, if you are always consuming food that has phytic acid, then you should consider activating them. Furthermore, since they have started to sprout, it causes all the nutrients to be released and hence the amount of proteins and vitamins that you will get from an activated nut will be higher than an un-activated one.
All in all, eating activated nuts relieves you from bloating and enables your body to digest food better. It also provides you with more nutrients when activated. We hope that you have learnt more about activated nuts, and we encourage you to try activating your own nuts for a cheaper alternative to commercially sold ones.