Juicing and Raw Foods

Why Soak and Sprout Your Nuts, Seeds, and Grains?

April 8, 2013
Why Soak and Sprout Your Nuts, Seeds, and Grains?

Chances are you've already heard about soaking and sprouting your nuts, seed and grains but are not sure how this benefits you or how it effects the taste. So why soak and sprout your nuts, seeds, and grains?

Differences in tastes?

The taste of nuts, seeds and grains after soaking is enerally sweeter and not terribly diluted at all. Soaking nuts or seeds removes tannins so that you have a softer, more palate friendly taste. Many people prefer the taste of soaked pecans to unsoaked ones and some nuts, like almonds, become better smoothie ingrediants after being soaked for a day.

Soak and Sprout to Increases Nutrient Content

Almonds soak and sprout in waterIf you soak and sprout your nuts, seeds and grains it will dramatically increase the available nutrient content and increase proteins, minerals, vitamins and enzymes by 300% to 1200%. Soaking and sprouting also makes grains, legumes and nuts more easily digestible and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes which will help the break down of gluten, and makes proteins more readily available for absorption.

Enzyme Inhibitors

Just like other raw foods, nuts and seeds contain enzymes which we want to benefit from. However, till the germination conditions are met the enzymes in most nuts and seeds stay dormant because they are being held hostage by so-called enzyme inhibitors which is a natural mechanism to ensure the proliferation of the species. When the conditions are right for seeds to start growing, the enzymes within them break free and start to break down nutrients into simpler chemical forms, thus making them easier for digestion and easier to absorb.

In his book Enzyme Nutrition: the Food Enzyme Concept, Dr. Edward Howell cites a 1948 University of California experiment in which chickens were fed a diet of raw soybeans, containing enzyme inhibitors. The birds looked sick, failed to grow and gain body weight, while their pancreas gland enlarged significantly. A similar 1960 U.S. Department of Agriculture experiment, using rats, confirmed those findings. Howell also describes how, after two months of unwittingly consuming raw wheat germ with enzyme inhibitors still in them, he developed severe gastrointestinal issues.

How Long do I Soak?

Soaking time can vary wildly based on a number of factors, but to be in the right ballpark you can use our chart as a guide. Generally If the nuts or seeds you are planning to soak have brown skins, such as almonds, walnuts, filberts and pecans, they have a high level of enzyme inhibitors and should be soaked for several hours. White nuts, such as macadamias, pine nuts and hemp seeds require very short soaking time or no soaking at all, since they have a very little amount of enzyme inhibitors.

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Soaking and Sprouting Chart

Nut, Grain or Seed 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
Black Beans 12 hours 3-4 days
Black Eyed Peas 12 hours 4-6 days
Broccoli 8 hours 3-6 days
Buckwheat (hulled) 6 hours 2 days
Cabbage 4-6 hours 4-5 days
Cashews 2-2.5 hours N/A
Chickpeas 12-24 hours 1-3 days
Clover 4-6 hours 4-5 days
Corn 12 hours 2-3 days
Cow Peas 12 hours 4-6 days
Fenugreek 8 hours 4-5 days
Flax 8 hours N/A
Green Peas 12 hours 2-3 days
Hazelnuts (filberts) 8 N/A
Kamut 7 hours 2-3 days
Lentils 8 hours 12 hours
Millet 8 hours 2-3 days
Mung Beans 1 day 3-5 days
Mustard 8 hours 5-7 days
Oats (hulless) 1/5-1 hour 1-3 days
Oat Groats 6 hours 2 days
Peanuts (valencia) 1 day 2-4 days
Peas 12 hours 1-3 days
Pecans 4-6 hours N/A
Pinto Beans 12 hours 2-4 days
Pumpkin Seeds (hulled) 8 hours 1 day
Quinoa 2 hours 1 day
Radish 8 hours 3-4 days
Red Clover 8 hours 3-5 days
Rice (brown) 12 hours 3-4 days
Rice (Wild) 9 hours 4-5 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 2-3 days

Do not soak: Brazil Nuts, Hemp Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Pine Nuts or Pistachio Nuts

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