Have you heard about the latest craze to ‘activate’ your nuts? Have you any idea what it’s all about? I recently joined this particular party and my digestive system is so thankful I did!! Let me give it to you in brief.
Nuts (also seeds, pulses and grains), which BTW grow on trees, contain enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients including phytic acid, which stop them from sprouting too early i.e. before the sun and rain arrive and it’s time for them to grow. That’s pretty cool for nuts (etc.) but not so great for us nut lovers. These enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients unfortunately bind to the super beneficial nutrients contained within these foods and stop our bodies from being able to properly access them.
If you eat a lot of these foods (health food lovers, vegetarians, gluten free folks all take note!!) you can then suffer from digestive complaints such as bloating, heaviness, discomfort and nausea. Even if you don’t suffer, you will not be absorbing all of the wonderful proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants on offer within these amazing little nutrient houses.
Ancient communities such as the Australian Aborginal people have actually been soaking and drying out nuts for, well ever and fortunately we have finally caught on to their wisdom. This process of soaking in brine and then drying neutralises the the enzyme inhibitors and activates phytase to break down the phytic acid, thus activating the sprouting process and increasing the nutrient availability and digestibility. In short, it means we can access and use the proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals that are contained within. The added bonus is the end result of a deliciously crispy, tasty nut!
The process in brief:
Soak nuts for roughly 6-8 hours (3 hours for cashews) in enough water to cover the nuts plus an extra inch or 2 as they will swell. Add approximately 1/2 tsp salt per 2-3 cups of water.
(NB Brazil, Macadamia and Pistachio nuts, Sesame, flax and hemp seeds to do require activating.)
Drain and rinse the nuts and lay them out on a baking tray for the oven or a dehydrator. Bake or dehydrate at around 50oC for about 12 hours.
Soaked nuts and seeds can be kept for a few days in the fridge. Dehydrated nuts and seeds can be kept for up to 4 months in a sealed glass jar.