Why soak overnight? (Grains, legumes, nuts, seeds)

Many of my clients are not aware that we need to soak whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds before cooking or consuming them. So this post is for they education (and yours 🙂

So why soak overnight?

Answer: Anti-nutrients

These are compounds that plants create to ward off predators so they can propagate their seeds and ensure their survival.

Anti-nutrients like phytates bind to minerals like calcium and iron while others may lower your stomach acid’s ability to break down proteins.

The table below highlights some examples of antinutrients. [1]

Source: Petroski & Minich, 2020 [1]

Soaking or sprouting these also increases nutrient bioavailability – meaning you can absorb more nutrients without the negative consequences from the anti-nutrients.

“The process of germination not only produces vitamin C but also changes the composition of grains and seeds in numerous beneficial ways. Sprouting increases vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. Carotene increases dramatically–sometimes eightfold. Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains [and in legumes and seeds] that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc; sprouting also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract…Finally, numerous enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process.”

Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions

HOW to reduce anti-nutrients?

Source: Petroski & Minich, 2020 [1]

It is as simple as soaking your grains/legumes/nuts/seeds in a bowl of water with some vinegar overnight (nuts and seeds use salt). About 1 tablespoon of vinegar or salt to 1 cup of water.

Then pour away the water and give them a good rinse before cooking (for nuts and seeds you can consume straight or dehydrate/toast).

To take it one step further, you can try sprouting (see picture below).

It really doesn’t take much time to do that and the benefits are far-reaching.

Conclusion

Our ancestors found all these out through trial and error and have been doing this for thousands of years.

Today however, this traditional wisdom has been mostly forgotten. Probably because convenience is prioritized and people are always ‘busy’.

I hope this post has been informative for you and educated you on the proper preparation of foods.

Blessings
Jahn
🕊

References

  1. Petroski, W., & Minich, D. M. (2020). Is There Such a Thing as “Anti-Nutrients”? A Narrative Review of Perceived Problematic Plant Compounds. Nutrients, 12(10), 2929. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102929

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