How to Soak Nuts and Grains
Nuts are a great snack for and can really help to balance your blood sugar. Here’s some motivation for you: according to both the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study, eating plenty of nuts and grains on a routine basis can reduce the risk for certain health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Grains are great sources of iron, B vitamins, protein, fiber, and packed full of other nutrients; however,they also contain phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. Phytic acid can be beneficial because it binds to impurities and toxins, allowing them to be flushed out of the body. However, phytic acid can also bind to beneficial minerals, preventing them from being absorbed by the body. It is therefore important not to overload on phytic acid, even though you should be eating lots of grains. How do you achieve this balance? Learn how to soak nuts and grains.
Learning how to soak nuts and grains begins the germination process, so the enzyme inhibitors are no longer needed. Without the enzyme inhibitor, the nutrients in the grain are more easily absorbed by the body.
How to Soak Grains
To effectively soak grains, legumes, or beans you will need : 1) time, 2) liquid, 3) acidity and 4) warmth.
The first in how to soak grains is to pick the acid you want to use. The acidic environment activates the enzyme phytase, which breaks down the phytic acid. Usually either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice is used. In addition to making your grains healthier, the acid will add some flavor, so choose accordingly. Use one teaspoon of acid for each cup of water. There should be enough water to fully cover the grains. It might be necessary to stir the grains to make sure that they are totally immersed.
Next, let the grains soak. The pot should be left at room-temperature. The grains should be soaked for at least one hour, but some people choose to leave them out all night. It should be noted that grains vary in phytic acid content, so how long you want to soak them may depend on the type of grain.
After the grains have soaked for an adequate period of time, you can finally cook them. Grains which have been soaked generally do not take as long to cook as grains which haven’t soaked! Carefully watch the grains as they are cooking so that you don’t burn them.
It can be fun to experiment with other grains besides the traditional oats and rice. Teff, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, brown rice, and quinoa are some whole grains which have recently gained quite a lot of popularity. In addition to adding variety, buckwheat, quinoa and millet are nice because they can be cooked in 20 minutes or less.
How to Soak Nuts
Nuts are also nutritionally rich and should be soaked for the very same reasons as grains. In addition to reducing the phytic acid, soaking nuts makes them easier to digest. Many people also think that nuts taste better soaked than they do un-soaked.
There is another reason to soak nuts: when nuts are growing they utilize inhibitors that protect and shield them. These inhibitors, called enzyme inhibitors, also make it harder for the body to absorb the nutrients in nuts. In some cases these enzyme inhibitors can even be damaging to your health. The good news is that this is easily avoided by simply soaking the nuts first.
So let’s take a look at how to soak nuts.
Remember that soaking nuts and seeds doesn’t take much time out of your day. Although the soaking itself takes time, it doesn’t require much work, so the most important thing is to plan ahead. Many people choose to dehydrate their nuts after soaking them so that they are nice and crispy again. This is also relatively easy to do using a dehydrator or oven, although the soaking process differs slightly.
Let’s start with the process for soaking and dehydrating. Rinse your nuts, put them in a bowl or pot, and completely cover them with water. Purified or filtered water is recommended for best results. Add 2 teaspoons of salt per 4 cups of nuts. Salt not only brings out the flavor of the nuts it also helps the soaking process. The nuts should generally soak for 7 to 12 hours but the ideal time depends on the type of nut. It is easiest just to leave them out overnight and let them soak as you sleep.
After the nuts have soaked, you may dehydrate them if you so choose. The nuts should be placed on a cookie sheet, if they are going into the oven, or dehydrator trays, if they are going into a dehydrator. Nuts can be dried at a very low temperature, generally around 125 degrees Fahrenheit in a dehydrator or at the lowest temperature of your oven. Whenever the nuts are dry and crispy they may be removed from the oven and are ready to eat.
If you don’t want crispy nuts, or you don’t want to take the time to dehydrate them, that’s fine. In this case, put the nuts in a bowl and cover them with twice as much water as there are nuts. Add 2 teaspoons of salt per 4 cups of nuts.
Rather than using a lid, place a clean cloth over the bowl. The length of the soak depends primarily on what type of nuts you’re soaking. For example, cashews can be soaked for as little as 2-3 hours, whereas garbanzo beans should be soaked for 12-48 hours. Some nuts such as cashews will get slimy if they are soaked for too long.
Some people recommend rinsing the nuts and replenishing with new water every few hours to better clean the nuts. After the nuts have finished soaking eat them or store them. Nuts that have not been dehydrated will be rather soft and should be eaten within a few days. Dehydration allows them to be kept on the shelf for longer, if desired.
Although nuts are very dense in calories, they are extremely healthy. Nuts contain protein, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, each type of nut is different and has unique benefits, but most nuts share several important qualities and health benefits: eating nuts can help lower cancer risk, lower bad cholesterol, contribute to a healthier heart, and even assist in weight loss.
In terms of specific nut types, walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, and manganese and can help suppress inflammation. Almonds contribute to gut health; out of all nuts they have the most fiber. Almonds also contain vitamin E and have been used in weight-loss studies with positive results. Cashews, although technically seeds and not nuts, are often considered nuts in a culinary sense (just as tomatoes are often considered vegetables despite being fruits, botanically); they contain zinc and magnesium.
Pecans are rich in antioxidants and promote arterial and heart health. There is also some evidence that pecans may protect the brain. Brazil nuts contain the mineral selenium which can suppress cancer development. Selenium can be unhealthy in large doses, however, so it is wisest to eat Brazil nuts in moderation. Other healthy nuts include macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and peanuts (also technically not nuts).
Nuts and Adrenal Fatigue
Many nuts are considered to be very healthy for the adrenal glands and thus for individuals suffering from adrenal exhaustion. Not all nuts are good for Adrenal Fatigue, however, and peanuts (which are legumes) in particular are not recommended for those with this condition. The best nuts for those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue are tree nuts, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. Raw and organic nuts are suggested for the most nutritional value and the least risk of other contaminants.
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more nuts into your diet, then learn how to soak nuts and try a trail mix with seeds and dried fruit. This promotes a great combination of sugar, fat, and protein which makes for a very healthy and hearty snack.Do be careful, however, not to eat too much fruit until your Adrenal Fatigue has stabilized. At that time you can combine blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, goldenberries, and/or goji berries with some nuts for a savory and healthy mix.
Healthy individuals may not be affected at all by eating nuts that have not been soaked. However, if you are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, you may be much more vulnerable and eating unsoaked nuts may cause digestive issues. Since eating nuts can be very beneficial, it is worth learning how to soak nuts so that they are more edible.
Individuals with Adrenal Fatigue may also benefit from dehydrating and salting soaked nuts. Salt can be very healing, but regular table salt contains additives and chemicals that can cause harm. It is therefore recommended that people with Adrenal Fatigue opt for Himalayan salt. Roasting nuts can destroy some of their nutrients, so salt is a better way to add some flavor.
Snacking and Adrenal Fatigue
Snacks are recommended for those with Adrenal Fatigue, primarily because maintaining stable blood sugar after and inbetween meals is often difficult. This is called reactive hypoglycemia; symptoms of this issue are anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue. The more advanced your Adrenal Fatigue, the more susceptible you may be to reactive hypoglycemia. The best way to overcome reactive hypoglycemia is frequent snacking, which delivers energy to the body and blood.
Some people also suggest that snacking throughout the day, rather than eating large meals, can help you control your weight. Now that you know how to soak nuts, try carrying some with you as an easy snack. Ultimately it never hurts to have some extra food at hand, especially if you have issues with blood sugar. What’s most important is that the snacks you choose are healthy.
Sugar may give you a surge of energy, but it isn’t easy on the adrenal glands, and eating it often causes a crash. This is why it is best to stay away from processed sugars and only eat natural, healthy sugars from fruits, and even those in moderation.
Fruit, seeds, nuts, and trail mixes that combine them all make for healthy and energizing snacks. When planning your snacks don’t forget the importance of salt. Remember that if you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue, your body is probably depleted of salt; so give it some help by adding salt to your snacks. A balanced amount of salt is essential for a healthy body.
Vegetables can also make good snacks, including kale, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, and celery. Most people do not eat enough vegetables, so including a vegetable as one of your snacks every day is a great way to get important nutrients. Find fun, healthy, and new ways to enjoy vegetables so that eating them is more of a pleasure and less of a chore.
Grains, as mentioned earlier, are very healthy and nutritious. Quinoa can be used in salads, with poultry or fish, or even eaten plain with simple seasonings such as salt and pepper. You can also experiment with other types of grains and eat a small serving as a snack. Leftovers also serve as great snacks, including small portions of salmon or chicken. Just remember to balance the different food groups in your snacks as well as meals.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.