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Think You Are Going Nuts?

By: New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out With Science

Nuts are a great way to get protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins but not everyone’s digestive systems can handle them. If you are someone who struggles to eat foods like nuts, beans and legumes you might not have to give up on them all together. It might just be that your gut needs some help and training. As well as addressing any obvious gut issues, activating nuts through soaking and sprouting makes them much easier to digest. It also reduces anti-nutrients like phytic acid, tannic acid and enzyme inhibitors and increases the bioavailability of micronutrients like zinc and iron.

So why are these plant foods hard for our guts to break down? A common reason is that the anti-nutrient phytic acid (or phytate) prevents them for germinating (sprouting) too early in it’s natural environment. This means that. When we soak and sprout nuts, or other plant foods, we are essentially imitating the germination process that takes place in nature!


With nut soaking, the harder the outer layer, the longer it will take. For example cashews, macadamias and pine nuts are softer than brazil nuts, almonds and hazelnuts so won’t need as long to soak.

  • Place nuts in a bowl and cover them with warm water
  • Add a little bit of salt and cover with a cloth
  • Leave for 8-12 hours
  • Drain the salty water from the nuts and then rinse

You can then use a dehydrator or bake the nuts in the oven to add that crispy texture. Doing this can also further increase the digestibility of the nuts.


Sprouting tends to be more commonly used for legumes, grains and seeds but if you are wanting to sprout almonds, they usually take 2-3 days.

  • Strain off any water the nuts have been soaking in
  • Spread the nuts in a single layer on a clean tray
  • Cover the tray with a damp cloth and place in a dark place until the nuts begin to sprout
  • Once sprouted, place in the fridge and eat within 3-4 days

*It is important to keep the sprouted nuts in the fridge and eat them within a short period as they can be an easy place for mold and bacteria to grow. You can also rinse the nuts each day and use a clean, damp cloth to re-cover them to avoid any mold or bacteria growth during the sprouting process.

When we soak and sprout nuts, or other plant foods, we are essentially imitating the germination process that takes place in nature!

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elocal Digital Edition – March 2024 (#275)

elocal Digital Edition
March 2024 (#275)

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