When ever you’ve been inside our Raw Cafe here in Rawai, Phuket, you may have noticed a selection of nuts and seeds that appear to be taking a bath behind the counter and wondered to yourself: “What on earth are these guys up to?!”
That’s a reaction we wouldn’t resent you for as you’re certainly not alone in having no idea about what soaking really is or the reasons or benefits of doing it! It’s still very much a topic that the majority of people we meet are totally oblivious to. But don’t worry, this Q&A will tell you all you need to know!
Firstly what does “soaking” actually mean?
Prior to using any nuts or seeds in any of our products here at Atsumi Raw Cafe, we leave them covered and soaking in water over night, as visible in the pictures. You can still get the benefits of soaking your nuts after only 4 hours (or less) of soaking, but we soak our for up to 12 hours, so anything in between is fine.
That’s great, but I still don’t know what you’re talking about!
Ok, let’s get down to basics. Nuts, seeds and grains are effectively the “pip” of the plant or tree they came from. They’re nature’s way of passing on it’s DNA to ensure a new plant can grow and the species continue to thrive. So, nature has designed the nuts, seeds or grains to survive and not perish until the right conditions are present for growing. Nature defends the nuts by using nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances, which are naturally removed when there’s enough precipitation for a new plant to be sustained after the nut, seed or grain has gone through the germination process.
So in short, when it rains, the nut, grain or seed is wetted and thus germinates to produce a new plant. Therefore we are imitating nature when we soak our nuts, grains and seeds.
Ok, I understand that. But why is it actually beneficial for us to do this?
As mentioned above, nuts, seeds and grains contain something called nutritional inhibitors. One of which being enzyme inhibitors. They’re there for the good reason of protecting the nut before germination, but they’re not meant for human consumption.
As you may know, digestive enzymes help to break down our food for proper digestion, but enzyme inhibitors put a real strain on the digestive system by clogging, warping or denaturing enzymes, making it much harder for our bodies to digest by reducing the absorption rate of the food’s nutrients.
When you soak your nuts, grains or seeds you’re bringing the enzyme activity to life! And when you eat living food it’s much easier on your system as it takes much less energy to digest. (Yes, digesting food uses up energy in your body! Lot’s of it!)
Traditional peoples and tribes have been soaking or partially sprouting nuts, grains or seeds for generations.
Is there any improvement to taste if I soak my nuts?
Yes, absolutely. Many nuts, especially almonds and walnuts have a more buttery, softer taste to them, even after soaking for as little as 20 minutes. You’ll notice the water will become brown as the residue and tannins are removed from the skins, thus giving the nut a much more palatable taste. (Discard this water after use, do not drink it or add to any recipe.)
And to summarize why I should soak my nuts, grains or seeds?
- To remove enzyme inhibitors
- To increase enzyme activity
- To remove or reduce tannins
- To make the proteins and nutrients more readily available for absorption
- To increase palatability and improve taste
- To increase vitamin activity
Tip: Soak raw almonds, peanuts or cashews and add a sprinkling of Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt prior to eating, for a delicious, healthy, enzyme packed, mineral and nutrient-rich snack.
Remember: it’s no good using roasted or cooked nuts, seeds or grains for this exercise. If they’ve already been exposed to heat above 43 degrees celsius then the nutrients and enzymes have already been destroyed and shouldn’t really be consumed as part of a healthy diet. You must use raw, uncooked products for soaking.
We love soaking all of our seeds, nuts and grains here at Atsumi Raw Cafe. We’re big believers in living food and we hope you will follow suit. Give it a try, experiment a little! And please let us know in the comments below how you get on. 🙂