Health

Is is better to soak dry fruits before eating them?

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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From increased nutritional value to a nutty enhanced flavour, soaking nuts and dry fruits can be a good idea, according to nutritionists.

If we think of an unbeatable healthy snack, it has to be nuts and dry fruits. We eat them as they are packed with healthy fats and protein. While we know how a healthy diet should consist of nuts and dry fruits, it is an ongoing debate whether to soak the nuts before consuming or just pop them as they are in their true form.
So, is it really necessary to soak the nuts? Nutritionist Zubeda Tumbi, founder of Health Watch Nutrition Clinic says, “Yes, absolutely!

“Soaking will help with germination, upping their nutritional content. Seed covers of nuts consist of phytates and oxalates that avoid nutrients, especially, B- vitamins to absorb properly. Soaking helps to undo the effect of these phytates and makes the nuts easier for digestion. Proteins in the nuts get partially digested because of soaking. It is therefore good to soak nuts before consuming,” Dr Tumbi tells HealthShots.

“While dry fruits like raisins, apricots and prunes, should be rinsed well and soaked in clean water so that the sulphites used to preserve them gets removed from their surface.”, adds Dr Zubeida Tumbi.

Raw nuts consist of phytic acid which is also found in grains and legumes. It is essential to soak for proper digestion, just as we soak grains and legumes.

Nuts, when consumed without soaking may lead to the following:

  1. Phytic acid present in them binds to the minerals in your gastrointestinal tract.
  2. This inhibits the absorption of nutrients in the intestine.
  3. The minerals the get bound during the process may lead to mineral deficiencies in the body.
  4. The enzyme inhibitors present in the nuts may also make digesting them a bit tricky.
nuts
Nuts can be consumed both ways, soaked or without soaked. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

These are a few reasons why un-soaked nuts and dry fruits are hard to digest. Soaking the nuts neutralises the enzyme inhibitors allowing for a proper digestion. Thus, reaping the complete nutritional benefits from the dry fruits.

Soaking the dry fruits can also enhance their flavour and increase their nutritional value. The soaked variety tend to blend smoothly and give a creamy texture to smoothies and curries.

If you’re convinced to soak dry fruits and nuts before consuming them, here is the right way to soak them:

  1. Take a glass container with a lid and fill it up with water.
  2. Add your choice of nuts or dry fruits to it.
  3. Place it covered in the refrigerator anywhere for 20 minutes to 2 or 3 hours.
  4. Rinse the nuts with clean water before consuming.If you wish to keep the soaked nuts handy at all times, remember to change the murky water every day to avoid food spoilage.

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