Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Should I Activate My Nuts

Have you heard about activated nuts?  It seems to be a bit of a divisive issue, something that some people scoff at and others swear by.  And if you are a fan then buying them can be rather pricey but they are really easy to make at home.

In its most basic sense activating nuts is essentially soaking and re-drying nuts and seeds to make them more easily digestible and make more of their nutrients available.

It is not a new idea and many traditional cultures either soak or sprout their nuts and seeds before eating them.  The idea is that the soaking or germinating neutralizes that natural enzyme inhibitors that occur in nuts.  During the soaking process the nut converts some of the starch to simple sugars, and some of the protein as the emerging sprout breaks it down as a fuel for growth.

Many foods are recommended to be soaked prior to cooking or consumption to reduce the level of phytic acid or other anti-nutrients .  Some examples are: 
  • pytates – found in grains, nuts, seeds, legumes
  • oxalates – found in beans, rhubarb, spinach
  • saponins (punch holes in your microvilli contributing to leaky gut) – found in quinoa, chickpeas, alfalfa, oats
  • lectins – found in soy, kidney beans, nuts and grains
  • enzyme inhibitors – like protease inhibitors found in soy, grains, nuts, Nightshade vegetables
So why is phytic acid bad?  Well it is believed that phytic acid (which is not easily digested by humans) can inhibit the absorption of minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc.  It can also cause digestive upsets and discomfort.

Different nuts and seeds require different soaking times and you can find a good guide here.

Now that we have cut sugar out of our diets we have been eating more nuts and seeds in a variety of forms including granola (recipe tomorrow), bread and pestos.  For me activating nuts and seeds is a bit like fermenting vegetables, it is a way of ensuring we are getting the most goodness from our foods.  It is something that I try to do in big batches so that my dehydrator is on for the least amount of time and then I store the activated nuts in the freezer as it is very warm here in Queensland and nuts can go rancid or at least start to taste a bit stale.

Do you activate your nuts and/or seeds?


  1. I noticed that when I sprouted my lentils and then made a soup out of them there was none of the flatulance and discomfort often associated with beans. I defintely think it is a good idea. I never realized that when they talked about soaking nuts that you then re- dried them. I learn something new every day!

    1. Hi AA yes they need to be very dry afterwards too. Indian dishes that use lentils often have Asofoetida added as it helps with digestion and prevent gas. You can get it from most Indian grocers and some supermarkets.

  2. Great summary Fee! I tried it, but I don't think I dried the nuts long enough and they went mouldy... I don't eat nuts much because they don't digest well for me, so I think I should probably soak them if I was to eat them more.

    1. Liz I dried my nuts in my dehydrator and gave them about 10 hours on the lowest setting. Nuts sit much better with me if they are soaked.


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