Benefits Of Soaking Almonds
As I travel my vegan diet journey I learn a lot and I make modifications to my diet. I scrutinize all the information I come in contact with, even information that is generally accepted and followed, and wondered should you soak almonds before eating them.
Why Do You Soak Almonds?
As far as alternative medicine is concerned it is generally accepted that we should sprout nuts and seeds to unleash their full nutritional value by activating their enzymes. I must say I don’t soak almonds all the time, but I do soak them half the time and I have reasons for doing this.
Soaked Almonds Nutritional Value
Activates Almond Enzymes And Improves Digestion
The number one reason to soak almonds is to sprout them and activate their enzymes. Almond skin contains enzyme inhibitors that protects the almond until the proper levels of sunlight and water allow it to germinate. The belief is that activating the enzymes in the almond allows better digestion and access to its nutrients. To sprout almonds you would soak them overnight.
How To Soak Almonds Overnight?
To sprout almonds you soak almonds overnight for 10 to 12 hours, After 10 to 12 hours you remove the almonds from the water, rinse them, and place them on a wet towel for 12 hours. After 12 hours you will see white spots at the tip of the almond indicating that it has sprouted. It generally takes between one and three days for the almonds to sprout.
Though it makes sense to me that activating the enzymes in almonds makes digestion of its nutrients easier, some will give blanket statements saying that the nutrients in almonds are wasted if you don’t soak almonds and activate the enzymes, and scientifically I don’t agree with this.
Our bodies have their own enzymes that digest the almonds and break them down into their components. Yes some nutritional may be lost if you don’t soak the almonds, but it is not like there is no nutritional value in eating un-soaked almonds.
Now if we don’t soak the almonds and remove the skin, the tannins in the skin can interfere with digestion. Tannins bind to and interfere with the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and cellulose. Removing the almond skin removes this issue with properly digesting almonds.
Soaking almonds makes almonds softer and easier to chew.
What They Don’t Tell You About Raw Almonds
If you eat processed or roasted almonds, the process kills the enzymes. To avoid this people will eat raw almonds. The problem with even eating raw almonds is that ones we buy from stores are pasteurized and the pasteurization process kills the enzymes.
U.S. law requires all almonds grown in the U.S. to be pasteurized, but the USDA still allows these processed almonds to be called raw even though they no longer are. Farmers can sell unpasteurized almonds but not to food distributors or markets so you have to get them from roadside merchants.
Benefits Of Not Soaking Almonds And Removing Skins
Though almond skins contain tannins they are low in tannins, and they contain less tannins than other nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans that contain high amounts of tannins. So almond skins contain less tannins to interfere with digestion, and human saliva also contains proline-rich proteins which inactivate tannins.
So if we chose to eat almonds with the skins we are able to digest the almonds and gain its nutrients, though maybe not as efficiently as if we ate soaked almonds without the skins. Also the almond skin is made of insoluble fiber which helps to clean the digestive tract.
Almond skins contain a combination of antioxidants and vitamin E which work together synergistically to protect cells from being damaged by free radicals, and research suggests that this combination in almond skins work synergistically to prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, promoting heart health.
What Does This Mean For The Almonds I Eat?
I basically soak almonds half the time I eat them. They taste a little different both ways and since I like how they taste both ways, I eat them both ways. I also eat a lot of almonds so soaking half of the almonds and removing their skin will reduce some of my tannin intake, give me the opportunity to find some of them sprouted, plus not overtax my digestive with an enormous amount of insoluble fiber.
Eating the other half of the almonds not soaked, I gain the benefits of the nutrients in the the almond skin and the insoluble fiber to help clean my digestive tract. I guess a just found a balance.