More details on soaking!

22 Oct

Those familiar with a raw food diet are aware of the practice of soaking various food items. There are benefits to soaking these foods, so we should all do it! Check it out:

  • Many foods contain compounds called phytates, which bind to minerals and cannot be broken down during normal human digestion (so we lose out on some of the nutritional benefits of eating these foods)
  • Soaking breaks down the phytate-mineral bond and frees up calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium for absorption in our intestine (as important group of minerals for our bones, immune system and energy level).
  • Soaking also destroys enzyme inhibitors and improves digestion (possibly lowering the amount of protein and other nutrients you need to consume in order to meet your body’s needs).
To discourage seed predators, pulses contain t...

Image via Wikipedia

Foods that benefit from soaking:

  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
  • seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax*)
  • lentils, mung beans, kidney/navy/various other similar beans
  • some grains (including buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice)

You don’t need to soak things for long to break the phytate bond. I usually soak nuts and seeks overnight or when I’m at work, about 4-8 hours. I typically soak grains and pseudograins (buckwheat, quinoa) for around 8-12 hours because the texture improves with longer soaking, as far as I’ve seen.

Note: Soaked nuts, seeds and grains must be rinsed and drained. Prepare to be amazed by how sweet some previously bitter-ish nuts become post-soaking! Super-yum.

* Flax and chia benefit from soaking but you cannot rinse them, because they will become goopy (their natural reaction to water) and you can eat them in that state. Consequently, use relatively little, very fresh/filtered water for soaking.

– parts of this post were based on information found on a now-lost blog; I wanted to credit where appropriate but could not find my source!-

I’ll be posting a tie-in post tomorrow about iron, the absorption of which can be tied to the presence of phytates. See you then!

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