Activated Nuts: What You Need to Know

Have you wondered why activated nuts might be better for your health? Wellness warrior Jason Lorenzo explains why activating nuts is actually about deactivating digestive inhibitors, in order for the body to absorb maximum nutrients from each nut.

Nuts are a rich source of healthy fats, minerals and protein and each nut has its own nutrient profile. Most grocery stores offer a wide selection of raw and roasted nuts, but when it comes to activated nuts there is little-to-no selection or information available.

For the most part, activated nuts can only be found in health food stores, yet they are often found among a large range of non-activated nuts. So what is an activated nut and why is it important to consume them in this form?

Activating is a term given to nuts which have been soaked in a slight saline water for a period of time so its nutrients become more easily absorbed by the body. By placing nuts in an environment where they are able to germinate, digestive inhibitors which lock the nut’s nutrient potential can be removed.

The main digestive inhibitor you might have come across is phytic acid. There is a high amount of this acid in raw nuts, which binds to essential minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium preventing them from being absorbed by the body. Furthermore, humans do not produce the necessary enzymes to break down this compound. This might explain why people find they feel heavy or sluggish after eating a handful of raw nuts. By soaking the nuts you are able to deactivate the phytic acid and hence, disinhibit mineral absorption.

“There is a high amount of phytic acid in raw nuts, which binds to essential minerals preventing them from being absorbed by the body.

Many of the activated nuts which you find at the health food store have undergone soaking followed by dehydration. This involves slowly drying the nuts at low temperatures so they are more enjoyable to eat and to ensure the nutrients are not destroyed in the drying process. 

Australia’s Aboriginal people have been using a similar soaking method for thousands of years in order to consume nuts and seeds. And just as we are learning more about the benefits of traditional fermentation processes by introducing our palettes to kombucha and kimchi, we are discovering that preparation methods can be key to getting optimum nourishment from our food.

For harder nuts such as almonds, soak them in water for overnight with a couple of pinches of sea salt. For softer nuts like cashews, a maximum of 4 hours is recommended, any longer and they can become slimy.

Words: Jason Lorenzo
Image: Hellene Algie