Why should we soak our nuts?

by Dr. Harlan Sparer, Tempe Chiropractor

Did you ever notice that when you eat more than a few raw nuts or seeds that your digestion is affected? The reason is that nuts and seeds are ultimately baby potential plants and trees. Given the right moisture and nutrient conditions, that is their planned design goal. The guts of an herbivore or omnivore, however are less than ideal for plant growth. As a result, their coating contains substances designed to thwart digestion.

Once a seed or nut is roasted or pasteurized, the fatty, protein, and carbohydrate substances that are potential nutrients are altered, along with the enzyme inhibitors. While this helps indigestion, it is deleterious to the nutrition quality of the seeds and nuts many people love to eat.

Many people prefer to maximize the nutrients they can obtain from seeds and nuts. Immersing them in water begins to break down the enzyme inhibitors. The time required varies by the variety of nut or seed (see my chart). While this is an excellent place to begin conscious seed and nut munching, this can be taken further with better results.

Sprouting a nut or seed simply requires soaking it for a longer period of time than soaking and includes periodically washing them and changing the soak water. The dormant seed or nut becomes alive and is a healthy nutrient factory full of substances that aren’t present in the sleepy stage of “waiting for water.” Sprouting is how many Vegans get powerful nutrients and proteins not present when the nut or seed is in its dormant stage.

Many native cultures near the sea traditionally soak their seeds and nuts in brine. This not only helps to flavor them, but also helps them to wake up and sprout. Adding a touch of salt facilitates sprouting biochemically.

Dried beans are in this category as well. Soaking beans before cooking helps digestion. What really makes them nutritionally valuable is sprouting them and eating them without heating them excessively. They can be prepared in a tasty manner without cooking them, with the proper tools and spices.

There is a vast potential for great healthy food in the live vegetable kingdom. Now go soak your nuts!

Soaking and Sprouting Chart

Seed, Nut or Grain

Soak Time

Sprout Time

Adzuki 
12 hours 
3-5 days
Alfalfa 
8 hours 
2-5 days 
Almonds 
8-12 hours 
12 hours 
Barley 
6-8 hours 
2 days 
Brazil Nuts 
 
N/A 
Buckwheat 
6 hours 
2 days 
Cabbage 
4-6 hours 
4-5 days 
Cashews 
2-2 ½ hours 
N/A 
Chickpeas 
12 hours 
12 hours 
Clover 
4-6 hours 
4-5 days
Corn 
12 hours 
2-3 days
Cow Peas 
12 hours 
3-6 days
Fenugreek 
8 hours 
3-5 days
Flax 
8 hours 
N/A 
Green Peas 
12 hours 
2-3 days
Hemp Seeds 
Do not soak 
N/A 
Kamut 
7 hours 
2-3 days 
Lentils 
8 hours 
12 hours 
Macadamia Nuts 
Do not soak 
N/A 
Millet 
8 hours 
2-3 days
Mung Beans 
1 day 
2-5 days 
Mustard 
8 hours 
2-7 days 
Nuts (all others) 
6 hours 
N/A 
Oat Groats 
6 hours 
2 days 
Pecans 
4-6 hours 
N/A 
Pine Nuts 
Do not soak 
N/A 
Pistachio Nuts 
Do not soak 
N/A 
Pumpkin Seeds (hulled) 
8 hours 
1 day 
Quinoa 
2 hours 
1 day 
Radish 
8 hours 
2-4 days 
Red Clover 
8 hours 
2-5 days 
Rye 
8 hours 
3 days 
Sesame Seeds 
8 hours 
1-2 days 
Spelt 
7 hours 
2 days 
Sunflower Seeds (hulled) 
2 hours 
2-3 days 
Triticale 
12 hours 
2-3 days
Walnuts 
4 hours 
N/A 
Watercress 
4-6 hours 
4-5 days
Wheatberries 
7 hours 
2-2½ days 
Wild rice 
9 hours 
3-5 days 
Why We Should Soak Our Nuts