Why Sprouted – in a nut-shell
Phytic acid, or phytate, is a chemical compound found in all plant foods, mostly in the seeds of plant foods. Basically, it binds to minerals and helps store them for the seed to use later as food. The minerals most affected are iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. When the seed germinates, the sprout can use those minerals to grow.
That’s great for the plant, but unfortunately we’re not plants, and can’t use minerals that have been bound to phytic acid. So even if a plant has a high amount of calcium, for instance, if all that calcium is bound up with phytic acid, the calcium won’t actually be available to our body to use. So we’ll get less calcium from that food than stated on the Nutrition Facts panel.
In addition to reducing mineral absorption, phytic acid also reduces the production of digestive enzymes. This can make foods containing phytic acid harder to digest, especially for people who have trouble producing enough digestive enzymes in the first place.
There are also enzyme inhibitors that prevent the seed from sprouting until conditions are right for it’s survival. Unfortunately these enzymes can cause digestive system irritation.
Sprouting makes it easier to digest
Soaking in a simple mineral solution, like salt, and low-temperature dehydrating helps to break down much of the phytic acid and make the nutrients in nuts more available to the body.
While many traditional cultures naturally soaked or sprouted seeds, this step is hardly ever taken with large scale production since it is very time consuming.
Sprouted nuts and seeds have an increased energy charge. They’re high in digestible proteins, essential fats, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, (especially the B vitamin). Fats and starches are broken down, so they’re easier for the body to use as energy and not store as fat. Soaking activates enzymes and neutralizes acids in order to increase the nutrition available in the nut.