Almonds are an uber-healthful, filling snack, jammed packed with real protein, fiber, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Lots of raw food enthusiast always tell others how important almonds are to a balanced diet, but it is harder to get them to expound on why soaking almonds can unlock more health benefits, making them easier to digest. Soaking all tree nuts — especially almonds, since they aren’t botanically a tree nut but a seed — keeps you healthy by elevating the vitamins and nutrients your body absorbs from the food, creating a straightforward and efficient process to unlock the treasures inside this healthy seed.
Raw almonds have tannic acid and an enzyme inhibitor in their brown skin that protects the nut until the proper levels of sunlight and moisture allow it to germinate. Since the nut does not release its enzymes until those conditions have been reached, eating almonds without removing the inhibitor limits the nutrients your body can absorb and makes the almond difficult to digest. By soaking almonds, you provide the moisture that makes the almond shed its skin and release its enzymes. The process works with most nuts and seeds.
Soaking almonds also changes the texture of the nut and makes it easier to chew. As the almond absorbs water, it becomes softer and less stiff. This is of particular benefit to young children and seniors who should avoid hard, difficult-to-chew foods. Softer almonds are easier to digest, which increases the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from the nut. If you use almonds in recipes such as raw pies, cookies, or meat, soaking almonds provides a way of maintaining the integrity of your raw creations and tasting flavorful and divine.
To soak almonds, place your raw almonds in a glass or BPA-free bowl and add purified water. Purchase raw, organic almonds if possible. After placing the almonds in a large bowl, cover them with 2 cups of water per 1/2 cup of almonds. Soak the almonds overnight, then drain and store them in the refrigerator using plastic bags or jars. Almonds will remain fresh for up to a week after soaking with proper storage.
The Importance of Sprouting
The benefits of almonds can be unlocked further by taking soaking to the next level and actually sprouting your nuts. Sprouted almonds are softer, moister, and sweeter as well as being easier to digest. Sprouting almonds is also the only way to release lipase, an enzyme which digests fat.
Almonds are good sources of monounsaturated fatty acids. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat are very satiating, resulting in a feeling of fullness and thus preventing individuals from overeating.
To sprout almonds, soak your almonds overnight for 10 to 12 hours, rinse, and place them in glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator. It generally takes between one and three days for the almonds to sprout and you can expect a 1/8-inch sprout to grow.