Nuts are easily one of the best-tasting, energy-providing snacks you can have around your home. Not to mention, they’re chock-full of health benefits. The Mayo Clinic has a whole page devoted to nuts and how they positively affect heart health:
"Besides being packed with protein, most nuts contain at least some of these heart-healthy substances:..."
- Unsaturated fats. It's not entirely clear why, but it's thought that the "good" fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many kinds of fish, but many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks.
- Fiber. All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber makes you feel full, so you eat less. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them. Plaque development in your arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
- Plant sterols. Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol. Plant sterols are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols occur naturally in nuts.
- L-arginine. Nuts are also a source of l-arginine, which is a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.
What’s cooler is that you can soak nuts in water to make them even healthier for you.
Nuts typically feature phytic acid, a compound used as somewhat of a defense mechanism to ward away any creatures thinking of eating them. Phytic acid makes digestion of nuts not so easy. When you soak nuts, this acid gets weakened or even washed away. It also helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors that keep you from absorbing all of the vitamins and nutrients they have to offer.
Other small effects of soaking nuts include the skins being more easily removed and any dust and tannins also get removed. For an even healthier soak, add a tiny bit of salt to the water, but remember not to use the soaking water for any sort of cooking purposes as it might contain all of the unwanted stuff you just got rid of.
Here are typical soak times for a variety of different types of nuts:
- Walnuts: 8 hrs
- Almonds: 12 hrs
- Pecans: 8 hrs
- Pumpkin seeds: 7 hrs
- Macadamia: 4 hrs
- Garbanzo beans: 12-48 hrs
- Pine nuts: 8 hrs
- Hazelnuts: 8 hrs
- Cashewnuts: 6 hrs
- Flax seeds: 6 hrs
- Alfalfa seeds: 12 hrs
- Broccoli seeds: 8 hrs
If you plan on soaking your nuts for over eight hours, it's recommended that you change out the water and start soaking them in fresh water at least every eight hours!
h/t Cure Joy