Soaking Nuts, Seeds, Grains, and Legumes

Why do you soak or sprout nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes?

It’s not commonly practiced today, but the one extra step of soaking (or sprouting for bonus points) your nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes before you consume them is an easy change to make to dramatically improve your health. Phytates, lectins, tannins and enzyme inhibitors are all scary things known as anti-nutrients that are actually harmful to your health sitting on top of otherwise healthy foods.

Why would nature do this to us? Survival. Nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes all want to withstand being eaten and the elements so they can make it into the ground and replicate. These anti-nutrients to us and other animals and insects are the plant’s attempt to outright poison insects and make it through the digestive tract of larger animals intact. This means damage to the lining of our gut, inflammation, binding to critical nutrients, and many more health hazards to us when we attempt to eat these plants’ defense mechanisms.

In nature, when a nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes gets rained on enough, they knows it’s the right time to let the guard down and germinate to sprout and grow into a new plant. So when we soak these items we’re mimicking nature to get rid of these defenses and “unlock” the nutrition inside!

Instructions for sprouting taken from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (Note – this book is awesome! Rather than ask whether a particular food should or shouldn’t be eaten, we’re more concerned with the right way to eat it. Nourishing Traditions is your one stop shop for this type of information for all foods and tons of great recipes!):

“No special equipment is required to transform grains and seeds into sprouts – just wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jars with a round of window screen material cut to fit into the lid of the jar, replacing the solid insert.

The method for sprouting all grains and seeds is the same – only the length of time needed to accomplish full germination varies, depending on the size and nature of the seed. Simply fill a mason jar one-third full with any grain or seed. Add filtered water to the top of the jar and screw on the top with its screen insert. Allow the seeds to soak overnight, for one night only, and pour off the water. Rinse the seeds well – you can do this without removing the top. Insert the jar and let it sit at an angle so it can drain, and to allow air to circulate. The seeds should be rinsed every few hours, at least twice a day. In one to four days the sprouts will be ready. Rinse well, shake out excess moisture, and replace the screen insert with the solid section of the lid. Store sprouts in the refrigerator.”

If you’ve been following us for any amount of time, you know we’re very big on sulforaphane (which is why Ryder takes Calibr8). The highest source of sulforaphane found in nature is in broccoli sprouts. Throw them in your salads and smoothies!

Soaking and sprouting guide (thanks bengreenfieldfitness!) for common nuts, seeds, grains and legumes is as follows:

Nut / Seed Dry Amount Soak Time Sprout Time Sprout Length Yield

Alfalfa Seed 3 Tbsp 12 Hours 3-5 Days 1-2 Inches 4 Cups
Almonds 3 Cups 8-12 Hours 1-3 Days 1/8 Inch 4 Cups
Amaranth 1 Cup 3-5 Hours 2-3 Days 1/4 Inch 3 Cups
Barley, Hulless 1 Cup 6 Hours 12-24 Hours 1/4 Inch 2 Cups
Broccoli Seed 2 Tbsp 8 Hours 3-4 Days 1-2 Inches 2 Cups
Buckwheat, Hulled 1 Cup 6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8-1/2 Inch 2 Cups
Cabbage Seed 1 Tbsp 4-6 Hours 4-5 Days 1-2 Inches 1 1/2 Cups
Cashews 3 Cups 2-3 Hours 4 Cups
Clover 3 Tbsp 5 Hours 4-6 Days 1-2 Inches 4 Cups
Fenugreek 4 Tbsp 6 Hours 2-5 Days 1-2 Inches 3 Cups
Flax Seeds 1 Cup 6 Hours 2 Cups
Garbanzo Beans (Chick Pea) 1 Cup 12-48 Hours 2-4 Days 1/2-1 Inch 4 Cups
Kale Seed 4 Tbsp 4-6 Hours 4-6 Days 3/4-1 Inch 3-4 Cups
Lentil 3/4 Cup 8 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2-1 Inch 4 Cups
Millet 1 Cup 5 Hours 12 Hours 1/16 Inch 3 Cups
Mung Beans 1/3 Cup 8 Hours 4-5 Days 1/4-3 Inches 4 Cups
Mustard Seed 3 Tbsp 5 Hours 3-5 Days 1/2-1 1/2 Inches 3 Cups
Oats, Hulled 1 Cup 8 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 1 Cup
Onion Seed 1 Tbsp 4-6 Hours 4-5 Days 1-2 Inches 1 1/2-2 Cups
Pea 1 Cup 8 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2-1 Inch 3 Cups
Pinto Bean 1 Cup 12 Hours 3-4 Days 1/2-1 Inch 3-4 Cups
Pumpkin 1 Cup 6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 2 Cups
Quinoa 1 Cup 3-4 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2 Inch 3 Cups
Radish 3 Tbsp 6 Hours 3-5 Days 3/4-2 Inches 4 Cups
Rye 1 Cup 6-8 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2-3/4 Inch 3 Cups
Sesame Seed, Hulled 1 Cup 8 Hours 1 1/2 Cups
Sesame Seed, Unhulled 1 Cup 4-6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 1 Cup
Spelt 1 Cup 6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/4 Inch 3 Cups
Sunflower, Hulled 1 Cup 6-8 Hours 1 Day 1/4-1/2 Inch 2 Cups
Teff 1 Cup 3-4 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 3 Cups
Walnuts 3 Cups 4 Hours 4 Cups
Wheat 1 Cup 8-10 Hours 2-3 Days 1/4-3/4 Inch 3 Cups
Wild Rice 1 Cup 12 Hours 2-3 Days Rice Splits 3 Cups