Awww, nuts!

© andrea j. walker 2014

© andrea j. walker 2014

Nuts are pretty much nature's perfect snack food (if you tolerate them.)  A great combination of protein, healthy fats, a little bit of carb, and some fiber, they are incredibly satisfying along with being delicious. They are also wonderfully portable and a great item to keep on hand in your car or bag for when you find yourself somewhere with nothing good to eat and plummeting blood sugar.

However, nuts are even more nutritious if you soak them first, and if they are a staple of your diet then you should definitely consider adding this step. Soaking nuts helps to remove phytates and enzyme inhibitors. Phytates can bind to minerals in the gut, making them harder to absorb. Removing enzyme inhibitors makes digestion easier and also makes certain vitamins more available. Soaked and dehydrated nuts have more available nutrition, are easier to digest, and are even tastier.

The basic idea is to take about 4 cups of nuts and about 2 teaspoons of salt and cover all of it with good, filtered water; then let them soak about 7 hours and drain them. After that, dehydrate them in a food dehydrator at a temperature less than 130 to preserve beneficial enzymes. You can also use a low oven but it's harder to control the temp. Make sure they are truly dry before storing to prevent molds.

A great post that has even more details and specific water/salt/soaking time rations for different nuts can be found here:

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/07/soaking-nuts.html