When you’re walking down the aisle in the market (yes, as I mentioned in Paleoista, it’s true that you won’t often need to venture down that part of the market for anything but tampons & toothpaste, but there are exceptions, including when it’s time to procure olive oil, spices and, for the purposes of this post, some raw nuts), you may see something curious in the bulk section.
Curious, that is, if you’re relatively new to Paleo.
What’s the diff between those and regular raw nuts? Which is healthier?
Sprouting nuts and seeds, or soaking them, actually, is a way to make them healthier for us. Doing so reduces phytic acid and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes.
What is phytic acid and why do we want to reduce it? Also known as phytate, is present in the brans and hulls of most grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Phytic acid is an anti nutrient that has very high binding properties which allows it to binds to minerals, vitamins and metals and to prevent us from properly absorbing them. In addition, it can contribute to the development of leaky gut syndrome.
But wait! If grains and legumes have phytates and are not Paleo, why, then, are raw nuts ok?
It all comes down to quantity.
Nuts should not be considered a major part of Paleo. I like to think of them as a garnish from time to time, rather than a main fat source. All nuts are inflammatory in the sense that they have high levels of Omega 6s and low levels of Omega 3s, compared to other fat sources like avocado or olive oil.
So, a handful of raw walnuts once in a while, even though some nuts have a higher phytic acid content than some grains, still nets out better than heaping wads of pasta, breads, soy and peanuts eaten on a daily basis.
Do yourself a favor and make those occasional nuts sprouted, and you’ll be even further ahead in the low-phytic acid consumption game.