What are ‘activated’ nuts, legumes and grains?
Activated nuts, legumes and grains have been soaked in water and salt for a period of time, which starts off the germination or sprouting process. The nuts are then dehydrated at a low temperature before eating. Soaking the nuts, grains or legumes increases the nutrient value of the food along with breaking down the problematic compounds that help enhance their digestibility.
The process consists of soaking the preferred food in salty water, usually 7-12 hours, and then dehydrating or roasting it under a low heat (about 65°C) for 12-24 hours.
What are the health benefits of ‘activated’ foods?
Activation stimulates the early germination and sprouting process within the nut, seed, legume or grain. This has multiple benefits; firstly, enzyme inhibitors are disarmed so that the plant can begin its next stage of growth. At the same time, phytic acid levels drop as the food taps into this energy store in preparation for its impending growth spurt.
Phytic acid also inhibits the absorption of the healthy minerals in nuts, legumes and grains such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium Therefore, by activating food, the substances which block nutrient absorption are disabled, whilst the other beneficial nutrients remain intact. We end up with nutritious foods that our bodies can easily digest and absorb.
Do they really help nutrient absorption and digestion?
Yes, raw nuts, seeds, legumes and grains contain natural chemicals that can interfere with the absorption of their nutrients. These are phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that can reduce the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients properly. Eating large amounts of raw nuts may place extra pressure on your digestive system and may cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms like bloating, cramping and nausea. Therefore, by activating your food, you can not only enhance absorption of nutrients but improve digestion.
If activated foods are out of your budget, can you still get the same benefits from regular versions?
You will still receive the nutritional benefits which the foods have, to offer i.e. vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and fibre. However, your body may not absorb all nutrients efficiently. If cost is an issue, you can easily perform the process of activation at home, saving you a lot of money.
Can you activate our own foods at home?
Yes, the process of activating your own foods can be performed as follows:
- Place nuts, legumes or grains into a large bowl (about 2 cups).
- Cover the food with filtered water mixed with sea salt (approximately 2 teaspoons of salt).
- The nuts, legumes or grains should be completely submerged in the salt water. The ingredients will absorb water as they soak and may grow mould if not kept under water.
- Depending on the food, soak for 7 to 12 hours.
- After soaking, strain away the excess water. Some nuts and seeds may require longer e.g. almonds.
- Slowly roast at very low heat (65°C) in an oven or dehydrator for 12 to 24 hours (roasting time will vary on the food you are using).
- The food is ready when they are completely dried out.