(Health Secrets) Have you heard about sprouted nuts? Nuts are the essence of good nutrition. Eating them reduces the risk of heart attack by a huge 60%, and research shows that people who eat more nuts are usually thinner and have lower levels of LDL cholesterol and reduced risk of osteoporosis. Eating nuts even lowers the risk of cancer and reduces inflammation. Although this is quite impressive, nuts can be made even more nutritious, delicious and healthy by sprouting them. When it comes to boosting the benefits of nuts, as well as seeds and grains, sprouting is like a mini-miracle.
Nuts are so great just the way they are, why care about sprouted nuts?
Unlike most raw foods, which are quite good for you, raw nuts have several drawbacks. Nuts are the reproductive offering of trees. The wisdom of nature has implanted nuts with enzyme inhibitors so they can wait until conditions are right for growth before they germinate. These inhibitors act as preservative for the nut, making sure it can stay viable for a long time. As spring rain comes and the ground becomes soaked, the nut sits in the water and slowly begins to lose its inhibitor, allowing for germination to finally take place.
If nuts are picked, dried and placed on your grocer’s shelf in their raw state, this enzyme inhibitor is still intact. This is why nuts have a reputation as being difficult to digest. The inhibitor actually inhibits digestion when nuts are eaten without undergoing the process nature intended. On top of that, eating unsprouted raw nuts can actually neutralize the enzymes your body uses to control inflammation. Eating unsprouted raw nuts is extremely hard on the digestive system and calls for the pancreas to produce huge amounts of digestive enzymes to counteract the inhibitor.
When such a large amount of pancreatic enzymes are needed to digest unsprouted nuts, those enzymes are not available to perform their regular maintenance of the body. Regular eating of raw nuts is so taxing to the pancreas that it can actually swell with distress. This is why most nutritionists and raw foodists suggest eating only very small amounts of unsprouted nuts.
Roasting nuts will destroy the inhibitor, but there are definite disadvantages of roasting nuts. In addition to destroying many of their nutrients, roasting nuts usually involves added oil which is most likely in the form of a processed seed oil. When heated to a high temperature seed oils produce an abundance of free radicals. Dry roasting nuts is detrimental to their fatty acids and can destroy their flavor to such an extent that seasoning must be added to make up for their missing taste. Although roasting destroys the inhibitor, it also destroys the enzymes in the nut that the body needs to make it easily digestible. So eating dry roasted nuts also puts a strain on the pancreas.
Sprouting nuts and seeds answers the problem of the inhibitor since sprouting them replicates the conditions nature would provide for removing it prior to germination. Sprouting is the process in which all the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and enzymes that have been lying dormant in nuts are released. Sprouting eliminates toxins in the nuts and solves the problem of the lack of taste in raw nuts, as the flavor of the nut is released along with the nutrients.
Sprouting has a long history as a healthy practice
Sprouting is nothing new. It dates back thousands of years and is still in practice today in non-meat eating cultures where nuts play a central part in the diet. The traditional process is called sprouting, although not every nut can be completely sprouted.
The process begins with fresh undried nuts that are soaked in water with the addition of a pinch of sea salt for twelve to twenty-four hours depending on the nut. The nuts should be rinsed and the water changed periodically. They should be tasted too, to determine what stage of sprouted nut you like the best. When the soaking time is up, they are removed from the water and slowly dried at a very low temperature (not to exceed 105 F) with low humidity. This drying heat is less than is used in the pasteurizing process, and it is never high enough to destroy any of the nut’s natural enzymes so needed for ease of digestion.
Sprouting and drying nuts is a time consuming process, but one with a big pay off. Sprouted nuts are so easily digested that they can be eaten in large amounts. They have greater nutritional value than unsprouted nuts, their flavor is superb, and they are crunchy like roasted nuts.
Nuts suitable for sprouting can be bought online at several sites. The website of Sprout People offers a good selection of organic fresh nuts suitable for sprouting. If sprouting your own nuts sounds like a little too much work, or you have a taste for something more exotic, there are several companies that sell sprouted nuts online. One of the companies, Living Nutz, sells dressed up or plain versions of sprouted nuts. The nuts and everything else used in their products are organic. Sprouted nuts are even available now from Amazon.
Higher Power is another online retailer of sprouted nuts, seeds and trail mix. They also sell raw nuts for sprouting at home. All their products are organic, and their quality is high while their prices are down to earth. They offer a variety of nuts as well as trail mix made with sprouted nuts and seeds.
Their Northwest Blend trail mix is heavy on the nuts and seeds with a nice addition of dried fruit. It contains walnuts, almonds, filberts, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, pears, and figs, and is dressed in powdered cinnamon. The company also sells raw granola made from sprouted grains.
Another company to try is Go Raw. They specialize in organic sprouted seeds. If you are a salty snack addict, this is the place for you. Their sprouted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are dressed with sea salt and have just the right crunch.
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Photo by s58y