Many people have a difficult time digesting grains, but did you know that soaking grains may make them easier to digest and increase your absorption of minerals?
Our ancestors traditionally prepared their grains, seeds, nuts and legumes by soaking them for up to 24 hours before cooking them. Soaking these makes them much more easily digestible by neutralizing enzyme inhibitors and breaking down proteins and phytic acid, an ‘anti-nutrient’.
Phytic acid (phytate) is a storage compound of phosphorus found naturally in these foods. This negatively charged substance binds to positively charged minerals such as zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron in the digestive tract, resulting in reduced absorption of these important nutrients.
The soaking process activates phytase; an enzyme in plants that breaks down phytate. In addition to this, phytate is water soluble, and discarding the water used for soaking will reduce a significant amount of the compound as well.
How to soak:
- Place your grains into a large bowl (not plastic).
- Pour enough warm, filtered water to cover the contents of the bowl (it is best to warm the water in a kettle than from a tap).
- Add in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (this helps to activate phytase and prevent contamination of bad bacteria).
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Cover, and set aside to soak overnight at room temperature for 12-24 hours (do not place in the fridge).
- Rinse well after soaking, and then cook as normal.
According to Food Matters, after soaking nuts and seeds, ensure they are stored in the fridge, or you can dry them for 24 hours in a dehydrator, or in the oven on it’s lowest temperature.
Oats are quite low in phytase, so you can add in 1 – 2 tablespoons of raw buckwheat (which is higher in phytase) to your oats for soaking.
For more information, check out this excellent post by The Nourishing Home.
** You should still avoid nuts, seeds, grains or legumes if you have any allergies or intolerances to these particular foods**