Whether you be a vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or someone who eats the standard American diet of burgers and fries, raw nuts are one food that all acknowledge is a good addition to the diet.
Here’s where the agreement about raw nuts ends.
Raw nuts are Seeds
While raw nuts are an extemely nutritious food, preparation is key in order to unlock maximum nutrient potential and to deactivate any substances that could be irritating to the gut.
The careful preparation to be followed is in accordance with the wisdom of Traditional Cultures. This is because raw nuts are seeds and as such, their hulls contain many enzyme inhibitors that can prevent all that wonderful nutrition from being digested thoroughly. These inhibitors can also cause digestive distress if many raw nuts are consumed. For some people, even a few raw nuts cause digestive distress.
Deactivation of these inhibitors can be accomplished through sprouting or soaking the raw nuts in salt water for a few hours and then drying in a warm (not hot) oven or dehydrator.
According to Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, soaking and drying of raw nuts mimics the careful and wise practice of the Aztecs, who soaked seeds in salt water and then dried them in the sun before grinding into flour or eating them whole.
This method is particularly helpful if you find raw nuts to be a bit irritating to your stomach or mouth. My own husband eats properly soaked/dried raw nuts with no problems whatsoever, whereas raw nuts not traditionally prepared cause him digestive issues and sometimes irritation around the mouth.
Where to Buy Quality Soaked Raw Nuts and Nut Butters
Don’t have time to soak and dry raw nuts yourself? Check out my Resources page for quality suppliers of soaked nuts and nut butters!
How to Soak/Dry Raw Nuts Yourself
In this video lesson, I demonstrate how to soak raw almonds and dry them in your oven to greatly improve nutrient absorption, reduce gastric distress, and yes – even make them taste better!
The general rule of thumb for soaking nuts is to use 1 TBL quality sea salt for every 4 cups raw, hulled nuts mixed with enough filtered water to cover. Soak 12 hours for pecans, walnuts, peanuts, 7 hours for almonds and macadamias, and no more than 4-6 for cashews (else they will get slimy).
After soaking, dry in a warm 150F oven or a dehydrator!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist