The Importance of Soaking Grains, Nuts, Seeds and Beans

When I was recovering my gut health, I noticed a big difference in how I felt when I soaked my grains, nuts, seeds and beans before preparing them. Where I’d once feel sick and bloated after eating, soaking brought great relief and I felt much better.

Soaking these foods is a traditional preparation technique that our ancestors have done for hundreds of years. They knew the importance of soaking grains as well as nuts, seeds and beans. Soaking removes the phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that makes these foods hard to digest and steals minerals from the body in the digestive process.

I thought it would be fun to peek into medieval times, when they knew that the difference between improperly prepared and properly prepared foods could make all the difference when it comes to health. Here’s a passage from On Right Pleasure and Good Health by Platina, one of the earliest known cookbooks:

“On the Lentil…

The lentil is sown with a plow, like the pea. The outside relaxes the belly; the inside constricts. It is digested with difficulty, generates black bile, and creates scaly skin disease, causes flatulence and a stuffed feeling, harms brain and chest, dulls the eyes, and represses the passion. Its harm can be corrected this way: throw away the first cooking water, add vinegar and spices to the second. It will even be healthful to mix soft barley meal in the pot so that it will give more and better nourishment.”

Back in those days, they knew to soak or slow cook certain foods. These days, many people skip these steps. This is one of a long list of reasons that bread, grains and pasta are vilified these days. Most are improperly prepared.

The Sourdough Bread Recipe I Promised Last Week is Now Available!

How to Soak Grains and Beans

  • Put grains or beans in a glass or stainless-steel bowl.
  • Add enough filtered water to cover them.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of grains or beans and mix into the water.
  • Cover with a lid or plate and let sit on your countertop for 8–12 hours for grains or 12–24 hours for beans.
  • After soaking, drain and rinse the grains or beans.
  • You can store the soaked grains or beans in your refrigerator for a few days before cooking them, or store them in your freezer for about a month before cooking them.
Do you soak, sprout or ferment your nuts, seeds, grains and beans before preparing or consuming them? I’m curious to hear if you’ve noticed a difference if you are doing this. Or if you feel this is all too much work?


This article started from a conversation we had on Facebook!


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!