Part of every healthy diet should include nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. However, these nutrient-dense foods contain phytochemicals that act as “Anti-nutrient” which inhibits nutrient absorption in the digestive tract. Furthermore, phytochemicals such as Lectin has been a subject of research for damaging effect on the intestinal wall. Many doctors believe it could be one of the culprits of auto-immune diseases. For this reason, nuts and seeds require soaking, while beans and legumes require sprouting for safe consumption.
In the next section, I will be explaining what phytochemical is. It will get a little bit technical, so if you are not interested in the explanation, please skip ahead to the soaking and sprouting section of the article.
What is phytochemicals?
Phytochemical, as the name suggests, simply means Plant (Phyto) Chemical. In other words, phytochemicals are chemicals produced by plant life naturally. Phytochemicals are classified as either Primary metabolite and Secondary metabolite.
Primary metabolites are chemicals which plant produces to grow, develop and reproduce as an example, sugar, starch, phytoestrogen, amino-acids, lactic acids, etc. Primary metabolites are essential for the plant to survive. In other words, their absence will result in the plant’s death.
Secondary metabolites, however, are non-essential chemicals which plant produces to serve as protection. It plays an essential role in plant defence mechanism against herbivorous animals.
Nature does not do anything without a purpose, and this is true even to the plant kingdom. Unlike animal which can run to avoid predator, to the contrary, plants cannot. Nuts, seeds, beans and legumes are the babies of plants. To protect them from being over-consumed by predators, plants concentrates secondary metabolites in the form of anti-nutrients in them.
These anti-nutrients act as a poison to their predators whereby animals (or humans) which over-consume them will become sick and less robust in their health. As a result, these animals will become less healthy and produces fewer offspring. Therefore, fewer plants are consumed in subsequent years. This is how nature balances itself between animals and plants.
Why soaking and sprouting?
Humans of antiquities have devised an ingenious way to neutralize these anti-nutrients which turn these nuts, seeds, beans and legumes safe for consumption. They do this by the method of soaking nuts and seeds, sprouting beans and legumes before consumption. This way, we can ‘trick’ the seeds into thinking they have safely grown in the ground; thus no longer need protection from the secondary metabolites. As a result, these chemicals are re-purposed for plant growth instead.
This guide will give you some tips on how to soak and sprout nuts/seeds/beans/legumes without the use of the oven or expensive food dehydrator.
Soaking nuts, seeds, beans and legumes are quite straight forward, simply soak them in a bowl of water and let sit for about 8 hours. The nuts will double sometimes triple in size as they absorb the water. In that case, use large enough bowl and adequate water. Drain the seeds well after 8 hours of soaking.
Note: Avoid soaking too long (over 12 hours). Doing so will rot the seeds.
The next step is sprouting. To do so, ensure the beans and legumes are well-drained. Rinse beans and legumes in water every 8 hours, about twice a day and place them in an open container in a semi-shaded area. The trick is, to keep the beans and legumes consistently moist, but not soaked, and not fully dry either. Do not place beans and legumes in an air-conditioned room or the fridge.
Note: Nuts and seeds do not need sprouting; just dry them after soaking.
Water tends to collect at the bottom of the container and rot the beans. The best way to prevent this is by placing beans and legumes in a net bag, which you get when you buy a pack of orange, onion, lemon, etc. and hang it or place the beans or legumes in a strainer. Alternatively, you may use glass container covered with a net bag on top, creating an improvised sprouting jar for no cost.
Note: Do not dry sprouted beans and legumes, cooked them soon after sprouting.
Most people would buy expensive food dehydrator or use the oven to re-dry the nuts and seeds. There is a cheaper and more convenient way to do this by Sun drying your soaked nuts and seeds.
Place the nuts and seeds inside a net bag, which you get when you buy oranges, onions, lemons, etc. Either hang the bag or spread it flat on a cloth drying rack, as you would dry your clothes.
You can also place the nuts and seeds on a baking tray and cover the tray with a net bag or cheesecloth. Otherwise, the birds will help themselves with your nuts and seeds.
Nuts, seeds, legumes and beans contain phytochemicals that act as “Anti-nutrient” which inhibits nutrient absorption in the digestive tract. Phytochemicals such as Lectin has been a subject of research for damaging effect on the intestinal wall. For this reason, nuts and seeds require soaking, while beans and legumes require sprouting for safe consumption.
Follow these simple tips to soak, sprout and re-dry nuts, seeds, legumes and beans.
Soaking nuts, seeds, beans and legumes are quite straight forward, simply soak them in a bowl of water and let sit for about 8 hours. Drain the seeds well after 8 hours of soaking.
Rinse beans and legumes in water every 8 hours, about twice a day and place them in an open container in a semi-shaded area. They should begin to sprout after 3-5 days.
Forget about buying an expensive electric food dehydrator. Just place the nuts and seeds inside a net bag, which you get when you buy oranges, onions, lemons, etc and sun dry.
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