Sprinkling smoothie bowl with nuts or mixing nuts in salads: there are countless ways to consume this superfood. While raw or roasted nuts are delicious and beneficial in their own ways, the new variety of activated nuts has definitely leveled up the nutrition game.
But what are activated nuts, which extra benefits do they provide, and how can you activate nuts? Stick with us to discover the answers!
What are Activated Nuts?
In simple terms, activated nuts are raw nuts that are sprouted and germinated by soaking them in water and giving them gentle dehydration. When done at home, the process simply involves soaking the nuts in warm salted water for about 7 to 12 hours, after which they are dehydrated at a low temperature for one day.
Are Activated Nuts Better for You?
Raw nuts comprise enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that limit the ability of your body to break down and absorb certain nutrients. Consuming large amounts of raw nuts can put the digestive system under pressure, causing uncomfortable symptoms like bloating and nausea. Soaking nuts helps reduce the concentration of phytate and increase the absorption of minerals.
The absence of phytic acid and inhibiting enzymes makes activated nuts and seeds a better option. They also improve nutrient bioavailability and cause the level of proteins and essential vitamins to rise, making them easier to digest.
How to Activate Nuts
While purchasing activated nuts from grocery stores is always an option, some people prefer consuming homemade alternatives. So, we’re here with tips on how to activate different types of nuts all by yourself within the comfort of your kitchen to produce natural and clean results without any chemical preservatives.
Once you’ve purchased raw, unsalted almonds (organic or non-organic) from your local grocery or health food store, it is time to begin with the activation process. Look for a bowl that is large enough to fully soak the almonds so that the water covers them entirely. Add the almonds to the bowl, fill in the right amount of water, and add ½ to 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Tip: The salt will enhance the taste of the almonds and help break the enzyme inhibitors.
Stir the almonds, salt, and water thoroughly and cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Set it aside and let it sit for about 7 to 12 hours. When the almonds are done soaking, use a sieve placed under running water to drain the nuts and remove salt or any other debris. You can then eat them raw without roasting them, but they will only last for a day or two in their raw state. To roast the almonds, you can use a solar dehydrator or wood-fired oven or simply lay them out on a tin roof to use the Sun’s energy. This step will take anywhere between 6 to 24 hours, as the key is to dry the almonds fully, give them an extra crunchy taste, and prevent them from going moldy.
To activate cashews, mix in filtered water and salt in a bowl. Toss in the cashews and make sure they are soaked in water completely. Put the bowl aside for only 5 to 6 hours. Tip: Soaking cashews for too long will make them slimy and taste strange.
Use a colander to strain the cashews and follow by spreading them on a stainless steel baking tray. Put the tray in an oven heated to 110°C for approximately 12 hours and keep turning them occasionally. Once the cashews are fully dry and crispy, remove them from the oven and enjoy the benefits. You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container or even in the freezer.
Activating walnuts is pretty much similar to the process of almonds and cashews. Start by adding clean drinking water to a bowl. You can speed up the process by using hot water, but since heat destroys nutrients, it is best to avoid using water at more than 50°C to 60°C. If you’re using water at room temperature, make sure to add enough amount to accommodate the walnuts when they expand during soaking. Leave them for 8 to 10 hours and strain-rinse them in a sieve till they are activated.
To keep them fresh for longer, dry the activated nuts in a dehydrator or an oven. Keep the temperature at no more than 75°C to preserve the nutrients and health qualities of the walnuts. And you can always top them with maple syrup afterward to achieve a salty caramel taste!
Benefits of Activated Nuts
Consuming activated nuts and seeds makes digestion faster, easier, and more efficient. This, in turn, enhances the benefits provided by raw or roasted nuts, which explains why activated nuts are a better option.
- Protects against heart disease – better absorption of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids lowers the chance of developing stroke.
- Address erectile dysfunction – the presence of phytosterols treats erectile dysfunction and improves sexual performance.
- Help with weight loss – activated nuts contain nutrients that assist in burning calories faster.
- Promote healthier skin – being loaded with Vitamin E and energizing protein, activated nuts promote glowy and healthy skin.
Which nuts need to be activated?
Activating nuts is not necessary. It is a process that enhances digestion and absorption of nutrients, but if you prefer raw or roasted nuts, there’s no harm in that. In case you’re looking to extract the extra benefits of activated nuts, all types, including walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, etc., can be activated. Pepitas and pumpkin seeds can go through the same process, too.
Why do nuts need to be activated?
Nuts — soaked or not — are a great snack, packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Activating them will break the enzyme inhibitors and reduce phytic acid to help enhance the absorption of the available nutrients and boost the benefits provided by raw nuts.
What is the difference between activated and non-activated almonds?
Both activated and non-activated almonds are a nutritious option that enriches the body with essential vitamins and minerals. The difference lies in the changes occurring within the almonds after being soaked. Soaking almonds stimulates germination and sprouting within the nut, resulting in the elimination of phytic acid and the breakage of enzyme inhibitors.
How to eat activated nuts?
Activated nuts make a great snack on their own, but you can also add them to other dishes, such as antipasto platters, trail mixes, and salads, to give them a fancy touch — or get creative and prepare your own homemade activated nut milk and butter!
Sprouted vs. Activated Nuts
Activated and sprouted nuts are the results of similar processes. The factor distinguishing the two is an extra step in preparing activated nuts.
Soaking regular nuts in water kicks off the process of sprouting and germination. For sprouted nuts, they are simply removed and eaten. In the case of activated nuts and seeds, the soaked nuts are dehydrated at low temperatures before consumption.
Bottom Line: Activated nuts are an easy way to add extra nutrition to your diet. They are a great way to get fibre, keep blood sugar low and increase the nutrient value of the food you eat!