Nuts are foods that share a fundamental characteristic: in their natural composition they have less than 50% water.
They also stand out for their rich content of proteins, fats, trace elements, and vitamins that give them many healthy properties. Here we will see how to “activate” them in water to make the most of all their benefits.
What are dried fruits?
In principle, it is important not to confuse dried fruit with dried or dehydrated fruit. The former are edible seeds covered by a hard shell, while the latter, as their name indicates, are fruits from which the water has been removed by drying techniques.
Examples of nuts are: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, chestnuts, walnuts (from Castile, Pecan or pecans, Macadamia, or Brazil), pistachios, and pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds or seeds. among others.
- Good reasons to eat nuts
Normally, nuts are characterized by being energy foods, rich in healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins, so their consumption is linked to different benefits:
- They help the heart, decreasing the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, and increasing the levels of “good” cholesterol.
- They help control blood pressure levels.
- They promote good digestion and make it easier to control or lose weight.
- They are rich in antioxidants, useful to combat the effects of free radicals (unstable molecules that affect healthy cell structures and favor the appearance of diseases).
Despite these benefits, you must remember that nuts are rich in calories, so their consumption should be moderate and complemented with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Enhance its flavor and benefits
Nuts are extremely versatile foods, they can accompany all kinds of dishes, and they are also practical, since they are easy to transport and do not need refrigeration, so you can count on them anytime, anywhere.
However, you can carry out a simple procedure before eating them to further enhance their benefits: soak or activate them in water. This seeks to eliminate its antinutrients.
As the name implies, antinutrients are compounds that interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients. In the case of nuts, phytic acid (phytate) is the antinutrient found in the highest proportion.
This compound fulfills a key function in cereals, legumes or seeds: protecting them from external factors, such as humidity, pests, or insects, prolonging their useful life. With this, it prevents the germination process from being triggered prematurely.
Certain minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium or zinc, can bind to phytic acid, becoming insoluble, so the intestine will not be able to absorb them.
- Super seeds that should not be missing in your diet
When we soak the nuts, the antinutrients pass into the water, so the minerals, vitamins, fats and proteins will be more available to us and will be absorbed much better.
“Activate” facilitates the digestion of nuts and the absorption of their nutrients, but if you do not do it, it does not mean that you will be in any kind of danger, nor will you have a nutrient deficit or consequences for your body.
Not all nuts can be “activated” to decrease antinutrients. For example, those that have been subjected to heat to remove the toxic crust that covers them, as is the case with cashews, cannot be “activated”. Neither do nuts that have been roasted.
The “activation” time varies according to the dried fruit. The following periods are estimated:
- Sesame, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds or pips: 2 to 4 hours
- Flax: from 5 to 7 hours.
- Walnuts or almonds: from 8 to 12 hours.
By soaking them, the nuts lose part of their bitterness, their texture becomes creamy and their cooking times are significantly reduced.
How to “activate” nuts
You can easily “activate” nuts by following these steps:
- Wash the nuts with water (you can help yourself with a strainer) until all kinds of dirt are removed.
- Put the nuts in a bowl and cover them with water (two or three parts water for each part of nuts).
- Let them “activate” the recommended time.
- After the “activation” period, strain and rinse until the water comes out clean.
- Spread them out on a plate so they finish drying properly. They are ready to eat! You can keep them in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
If you want to prepare a large quantity to store later, you should use a dehydrator or electric oven to dry them properly. This way you can keep them for several months. Just make sure they are completely dry, otherwise fungus can grow.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.