My sister-in-law buys only raw nuts and then soaks them for 24 hours and dehydrates them before eating them.
This apparently helps them to germinate and then consequently helps us to digest them better (or at least absorb more nutrients)??
Is there any validity to this?
Am I getting the same nutritional benefit from a nut whether it has been soaked/dehydrated or not?
While the soaking philosophy makes sense to me - I'm not sure I have the time/energy for this added step.
-- Katie Bandelin
El Paso, TX
Raw food advocates claim that almonds – and other nuts – should be soaked for approximately 12 to 24 hours before being consumed so as to "neutralize enzyme inhibitors".
Many followers of a raw diet go as far as believing that non-soaked almonds are “empty calories” since, without the enzyme inhibitors removed, our bodies do not absorb vitamins or minerals from them.
Soaking almonds, they say, makes digestive enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins B, C (which, by the way, almonds do not contain) more readily available.
In case you haven't caught on yet, a large component of the raw food movement surrounds enzymes.
Followers claim that heating foods to high temperatures – and, in this case, not soaking beans and legumes prior to eating them – renders naturally occurring enzymes in these foods useless.
A lack of enzymes in our diet, they claim, causes us to accumulate toxins in our systems and become sick.
From a nutritional biochemistry standpoint, enzymes are necessary for many metabolic processes.
And, raw food advocates are right -- heat does kill some enzymes. Plant enzymes, which our stomach acids destroy anyway.
So, roasting a potato kills some enzymes – the same ones that would be destroyed once they encountered our acidic gastric juices.
Plant enzymes are very important – for plants!
We need human enzymes. Fortunately, our bodies produce them. We do not need to seek them out in food.
In the specific case of almonds, there is no reason to believe that soaking them enhances nutrient absorption.
Keep in mind that the research on almonds does not utilize soaked almonds.
Recent research at Tufts’ Antioxidants Research Laboratory, for instance, determined, via blood testing, that daily almond consumption (of non-soaked almonds) increased vitamin E in the body.
In short, almonds (and other nuts and seeds) are healthy, whole foods that offer plenty of nutrition without human intervention.