I absolutely love nuts. I really could nibble on them all day. People are often scared that nuts will make them fat, but I lost my last 10 pounds while including nuts as part of my daily regimen. So I thought, if I’m obsessed with nuts, others must feel the same way. Here are some tips to help you consume nuts in a way that will work with your body and give you the most nutrients possible.
Nuts are made from oils that can go rancid.
We don’t think of nuts as a food that goes bad, but they do. Complicating the matter, rancid nuts can still taste good. So how do we protect ourselves from these toxic oils?
Buy raw nuts.
Roasted nuts have been cooked at high heat which not only destroys the nutrient profile of the nut, but also makes the oil in the nut rancid. Additionally, roasted nuts are usually cooked in vegetable oil which is problematic because these oils spoil at high heats as well.
Buy nuts from the bulk section.
Nuts that are packaged can sit for long periods of time before reaching store shelves. Nuts in the bulk section tend to be fresher. There is a catch though. If a store doesn’t sell a lot of nuts, those bulk nuts will have a chance to spoil too. I like buying nuts from the bins at my local Whole Foods because there is a constant rotation of product.
Once you bring nuts home, store them in the fridge.
The cooler temperature will prolong the nuts life. This will help keep nuts fresh. The oil in the nut is a lot more stable at cooler temperatures.
Another point to keep in mind:
While nuts are full of vitamins and minerals, they are also a source of phytic acid (which can stop certain needed minerals from being utilized) as well as enzyme inhibitors (which can inhibit proper digestion and lead to tummy troubles). But before you throw your nuts away, know that there is way to help neutralize the unhealthy components of nuts as well as improve their nutrient profile. This is through the proper soaking of nuts. This simple process helps destroy the unhealthy components as well as make more vitamins and minerals in the nut more available.
Soaking nuts is easy.
Soak nuts overnight (for at least 8 hours). Add salt to the soaking mixture to activate enzymes that neutralize the enzyme inhibitors. Then drain the nuts and put them on a pan in the oven at 150 degrees until they are dry (I use my convection oven since my normal oven doesn’t go that low). If your oven only starts at 200 degrees, keep the oven door propped open to let out some of the heat.
You may be tempted to turn up the heat to get them to dry faster.
But resist this urge. Remember that high heat will burn the oils in the nuts and destroy the nutrients. Another option is to use a dehydrator if you have one. Just make sure the nuts are dry before storing them in the fridge so they don’t grow mold. If you know that you don’t have the patience (this can take quite a few hours), make nuts in small batches and consume immediately.
*soaking instruction taken from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.
Another option is to sprout your nuts.
Sprouting nuts has a lot of the advantages of soaking nuts. It makes many of the vitamins and minerals more available. It can also remove the phytic acid and the enzyme inhibitors. If you are uninspired or time restricted, you can easily buy sprouted nuts, but they will cost you a pretty penny.
Soak nuts with salt overnight (at least 8 hours) in a jar with a sealed screen or covered by a cheesecloth. Then drain the jar and move it to a warm, shaded area in the home. After 12 hours, rinse the nuts and drain. Return them to the warm dark area. Repeat this process every 12 hours until sprouted. Timing can vary, but this usually takes from 1 to 3 days. Keep an eye on them. You will know they are sprouted because you will see a small tail begin to grow. It doesn’t need to be very long. Once it starts to grow, you are done. Follow the oven drying process described above for soaking nuts.
So enjoy your nuts.
Nuts contain wonderful, healthy fat. I love using them as a snack for weight loss (in moderation). It is much better to consume fat that will fill you than starchy or sugary snacks that will upset blood sugar and lead to hunger and fat storage. So I say eat your nuts, but prepare them properly to get the most out of their nutritional potential!
Love nuts as well and eat them nearly every day with yogurt. I didn’t know about the soaking though so will give that a whirl. What are the best ones? I tend to focus on brazil and walnut, nuts.
Hi Tim! Walnuts and brazil nuts are both good options. If you want to get real technical, I’d say to eat more walnuts than brazil nuts. Walnuts have a form of omega-3s which most of us need. Brazil nuts are a good source of omega-6 and selenium, but since selenium is a mineral we only need in trace amounts, a few brazil nuts a day should do it!
Ken Dowell says
I am also a big fan of nuts but quite honestly knew none of this. I am just as fond of a roasted salted canned peanut as I am of a raw cashew bought in bulk. Now I know better.
Hi Ken. Glad this could help. It is nice when healthy food can taste just as good as the less healthy option!
This was great information about nuts and I’ll bet you that most people weren’t aware of any of it. I do a fair bit of sprouting and will try to sprout peanuts and see what develops. Interesting.
You’ll have to let me know how sprouting a peanut goes! I’ve never tried that one. I’ve only done almonds, cashews and walnuts. Actually, now I want to try that one myself. You may have just inspired me. 🙂
Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) says
This was such a GREAT post! I love nuts, but with my dental issues have been unable to consume them much here of late. So I have had to throw quite a few away. This is a boon to me…to actually know how to start from raw…which would be my choice as opposed to sprouting. What are the best nuts from a nutrient standpoint and taking into consideration starting from raw?
Jacquie, that sucks that you have had to limit what you eat for stupid teeth issues. That is the worst! Yes, you will probably like soaking. Actually, after you soak the nuts, before you dry them the nuts are super soft. I think this will work well for you, because as long as you don’t roast them, they will remain pretty soft after drying. I think some good option are cashews, almonds and walnuts. Let me know how it goes!
Becoming SuperMommy says
I’ve never tried soaking them before! I’m definitely going to give it a shot!
Yes, give it a try! Let me know how it goes!
Soaking nuts is important. Have to admit I’m seldom doing so. For instance eat a lot of nuts yesterday in someone else’s house. Couldn’t ask them to soak them.:-)
What can you do? You have to make due with what is available when visiting others. I would ask my friends to soak the nuts they serve when visiting them either. 🙂
Rose M Griffith says
I’m a nut for nuts, too, so this was fun to read. Never thought about putting them in the ‘fridge, but will start to do so.
Krystle Cook says
Very informative. I didn’t know about soaking or sprouting nuts. Would come in handy for my grandfather. He’s a big nut fan.