activated nuts, Chantal Organics, Napier, New Zealand

Activate Your Nuts

Activating nuts and seeds is an ancient and traditional practice of soaking nuts and seeds, which begins the process of germination.

WHY ACTIVATE

Nuts and seeds contain natural chemicals that provide a protective measure to ensure they only sprout when conditions will support the growth of young plants. In nature, this also prevents animals in the wild from overeating nuts. Natural enzyme inhibitors prevent the nuts and seeds from releasing their nutrients to support germination. These inhibitors also make nuts and seeds hard for humans to digest. And without releasing the nutrients, it is hard for the body to access these nutrients. Another protective measure is the toxic tannins found in the skins of nuts and seeds, leaving a very bitter unsavoury flavour that leaves the mouth feeling chalky. And finally, they contain a chemical compound called phytic acid, which binds important minerals such as calcium, zinc and iron, storing them until needed. Nuts are a great nutritional packed snack; being high in protein, essential fats, fibre, antioxidants and minerals. Yet when raw nuts are consumed, these inhibitors prevent the body from accessing and absorbing the full extent of the nutrients, are hard to digest and can cause digestive distress such as constipation, stomach cramps and bloating. Therefore, soaking or ‘activating’ signals to the nuts and seeds that the sprouting process can begin, so they naturally lose the tannins in their skins, enzymes are released to break down the enzyme inhibitors and the phytic acid significantly reduces.

HOW TO ACTIVATE

This is a simple process of soaking nuts and seeds in water, often overnight, depending on the type of nut. (Check online for specific times). This deactivates the enzyme inhibitors and brings the nut to life. It is always important to drain and rinse the nuts and seeds to discard these natural chemicals left in the water. They can then be dehydrated at a low temperature to dry and regain their crunchiness. The end result is a sweeter, crunchier, more flavourful and digestible nut. An oven can be used on its lowest setting, but it’s important not to cook the nuts, simply dry them.