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Why is it important to soak walnuts before eating?

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01/6​Do you soak walnuts before eating?​

Soaking walnuts before eating is a practice that some people follow for various reasons, primarily to improve their digestibility, remove bitterness, and enhance nutrient absorption. It is believed that this process offers potential health benefits. Let’s understand why soaking walnuts is advisable:

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02/6​Enhanced digestibility​

One of the main reasons people soak walnuts is to improve their digestibility. Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which can make them difficult for some people to digest. Phytic acid binds to minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc, inhibiting their absorption in the body. Soaking nuts, including walnuts, in water for several hours or overnight is believed to reduce the levels of enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, making them easier to digest. Some individuals report experiencing less gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating or gas, after consuming soaked walnuts compared to eating them raw or unsoaked.

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03/6​Reduction of bitterness​

Walnuts contain natural compounds, including tannins, which contribute to their bitter taste. Soaking walnuts in water can help reduce the bitterness by leaching out some of these compounds. Many people find that soaked walnuts have a milder flavor and are more palatable compared to raw walnuts. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are sensitive to bitter flavors or find raw walnuts unappealing.

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04/6​Improved nutrient absorption​

Soaking walnuts may also enhance the absorption of nutrients present in the nuts. By reducing the levels of phytic acid, soaking can help release bound minerals, making them more bioavailable for absorption in the digestive tract. This may be especially beneficial for individuals with nutrient deficiencies or those following plant-based diets, as nuts are a good source of essential minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. However, it’s important to note that the impact of soaking on nutrient absorption may vary depending on individual factors such as gut health and overall diet.

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05/6​Removal of contaminants​

Another potential benefit of soaking walnuts is the removal of mold, bacteria, and other contaminants that may be present on the nuts’ surface. Soaking walnuts in water with added salt or vinegar is believed to help disinfect and clean the nuts, reducing the risk of foodborne illness. This can be particularly important if the walnuts are not stored properly or if there are concerns about their freshness. However, it’s essential to use clean, filtered water and to discard any walnuts that appear moldy or spoiled before soaking.

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06/6​Softening for culinary use​

Soaked walnuts have a softer texture compared to raw walnuts, which can be advantageous for certain culinary purposes. Soaked walnuts can be easily blended into smoothies, sauces, or nut milks, resulting in a smoother consistency. They can also be used as a base for raw desserts, energy bars, or vegan cheeses, where a softer texture is desired. Some recipes may specifically call for soaked walnuts to achieve the desired taste and texture.

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