Did you know that the coastal Aztec people would soak their pumpkin or squash seeds in seawater and then sundry them out? There are some that say that you absolutely need to sprout your nuts and seeds, but there are others that say it’s unnecessary.
My take- if you’re dealing with any kind of gastrointestinal issues or autoimmune issues, it’s something worth considering. When I first started eating raw chia seeds and flax seeds, I had a very hard time digesting them. Once I started pre-soaking them, it was much easier.
Reasons to Sprout:
- Easier to Digest
– Soaking & sprouting breaks down the protective coating of the nuts/seeds, thus allowing for easier digestion.
- Increase the Vitamin Content
– Soaking and sprouting breaks down anti-nutrients such as Polyphenols, Enzyme inhibitors, Lectins, and Saponins. This allows for more vitamin bioavailability.
- Decreases Phytic Acid
– Phytic acid protects the plant from breaking down. Soaking or sprouting helps to break this down.
- Reduces Goitrogens
– Goitrogens are substances that disrupt the production of the thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. Soaking and sprouting helps to reduce them, allowing your thyroid to function better.
- Increase Protein Absorption
– Phytic acid inhibits enzymes known as pepsin and trypsin. These enzymes are needed to help breakdown the proteins in the gastrointestinal system.
- Increases Fiber Content
– When seeds are sprouted their fiber content increases and becomes more available.
- Improves Flavor
– Soaking and sprouting removes the tannins found on the skin, leaving behind a softer and more favorable taste.
How to Sprout:
- Use Raw Nuts/Seeds
- Soak in filtered water with sea salt (salt helps break down the phytic acid) for 2-3 days. If just soaking (not sprouting), only soak for 7-12 hours.
- Do not cover with plastic. You can leave it uncovered, or place a very thin towel overtop of bowl. If in a very hot & humid environment, you can place this in the fridge.
- Discard the water and rinse well.
- Store in fridge and eat within 24 hours, or dry in a dehydrator.
Unless you are using a dehydrator, after sprouting or soaking, you need to eat within 24-48 hours. The activating process can make the nuts more prone to grow harmful molds. I store mine in the fridge and they’re usually good for 1-2 weeks. You can see the mold if they start growing it. I find Walnuts to be the biggest offender of this.
Truly raw almonds are no longer commercially available in the U.S. In the U.S almonds must be “pasteurized,” meaning they are fumigated with chemicals. If you buy organic Almonds it means that they’ve been steamed. You can still soak them, but they will not sprout.
Don’t feel like sprouting?
Me either! It’s very time consuming. You have two options. You can just pre-soak your nuts/seeds (skipping the sprouting part) or you can buy them already sprouted.
Places to purchase sprouted products:
Go Raw sells Sprouted Sunflower Seeds for $8.66 and sells Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds for $11.82 on Vitacost.com. You can also find Sprouted Ground Flax for $15 and Sprouted Chia Seeds for $5. PurLiving sells Sprouted Sunflower Seeds for $5.79 and Sprouted Almonds for $13.99.
JUST EAT REAL FOOD – Stop focusing on calories & focus on what you’re eating and how it makes you feel. Your body is always giving you signals, but many times we ignore them. Pay attention if you develop nausea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, joint pain, rashes, sinus problems, or cold sores. If you develop any of these things after eating, it’s a good indicator that your body is giving you a clue to stop consuming something in your food. Many times these symptoms come from consuming chemicals, artificial coloring, and preservatives. Other times these symptoms can occur from a food allergy or sensitivity. Pay attention. Creating a food diary is a really great way to help you figure out what your triggers are. Food elimination diets are a great way to figure out what your triggers are.