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Are soaked almonds better than raw almonds?

Have you ever heard that soaking almonds is a way to activate them? It is believed that this process helps remove potential antinutrients they may contain. Soaking almonds before eating them is a practice that offers several potential benefits.

 

However, it's important to note that scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited, and individual responses may vary. Here are some reasons to eat soaked almonds: 

  1. Improved Digestion: Soaking almonds may help in breaking down the enzyme inhibitors present in the almond skin. This process is believed to make almonds easier to digest and enhance nutrient absorption.

  2. Increased Nutrient Absorption: Soaking almonds may increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. This is because soaking can reduce the levels of phytic acid, which can interfere with the absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

  3. Release of Enzymes: Soaking almonds can activate enzymes that are dormant in the dry almond. These enzymes may enhance the nutritional profile of almonds and potentially make them more beneficial.

  4. Reduced Anti-Nutrients: Almonds, like many other nuts and seeds, contain anti-nutrients such as tannins and phytic acid. Soaking can help reduce the levels of these compounds, which may be beneficial for people who are sensitive to them.

  5. Softer Texture: Soaked almonds tend to have a softer texture compared to raw almonds, which some people find more palatable.

Do I recommend soaking almonds before eating?

The choice to eat soaked almonds depends on various factors, including personal preference and any specific health considerations you may have. Soaking almonds is a practice that some people find beneficial for reasons such as improved digestion and increased nutrient absorption, as mentioned earlier. However, there is no universal consensus on whether soaking almonds is necessary for everyone.

If you have specific digestive concerns or preferences related to texture, you may want to experiment with soaked almonds and see if you find them more agreeable. Additionally, if you have dietary restrictions or health conditions, it's advisable to consult with a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or healthcare professional. 

Nutrition is a highly individualized field, and what works well for one person may not be suitable for another. 

How long should I soak the almonds before eating?

If you choose to soak almonds before eating, the recommended soaking time can vary.

To activate the almonds, start with raw and whole grains, not roasted or fried. To soak roasted or fried almonds is not recommended because it oxidize their fatty acids.

Soak the almonds for 4 to 6 hours in warm water (100 - 115°F) along with a tablespoon of sea salt per liter of water, to act as a catalyst and help break the links of enzymatic inhibitors. 

After the soaking period, drain the water and rinse the almonds thoroughly under cool, running water, now they can be eaten immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

If you prefer, you can peel the softened almonds by gently squeezing them, the skins should slide off easily. 

Soaking times may vary depending on factors such as almond size and freshness, so you can adjust based on your preferences. Keep in mind that soaked almonds have a softer texture compared to raw almonds.

Once soaked, you can eat them as they are, add them to smoothies, or include them in various dishes. 

Conclusion:

It's important to note that while soaking almonds may have potential benefits, almonds are also nutritious in their raw form. They are a good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

If you enjoy the taste and texture of soaked almonds, incorporating them into your diet can be a healthy choice.

 

Source:

Kumari, S., Gray, A. R., Webster, K., Bailey, K., Reid, M., Kelvin, K. A. H., Tey, S. L., Chisholm, A., & Brown, R. C. (2020). Does 'activating' nuts affect nutrient bioavailability?. Food chemistry319, 126529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.126529