Almonds. We've all heard they're good for you: good for your heart, good for losing weight, and just plain good thanks to their healthy fats. But, while we've all been smearing almond butter across rice crackers, guzzling almond milk, and popping nut after nut at our desks, the almond has kept a secret from us: its nutrient content is not fully available to us. That is, unless they are soaked! Why Soaked? It’s important to soak almonds because this process increases their digestibility by deactivating a special enzyme inhibitor. Put simply: almonds are safe to eat raw, and un-soaked, but you won't gather all the nutrients they have to offer unless you soak them. Think about it this way, an almond contains everything it needs to make a tree, except water. When you plant an almond seed, into the ground, you water it to make it grow! Once you add the water, then seed "activates," and comes to life. Why should you care about enzymes? Enzymes are proteins that are necessary for mediating chemical reactions, such as those involved in breaking down foods. Almonds naturally block the enzyme function in your body! These inhibitors are developed by mother nature to protect the almond from pests, like bugs. As a result, almonds will not fully break down during digestion and you won't get the full nutrition that an almond has to offer! So, have you ever heard that when you eat almonds you actually absorb fewer calories than they are estimated to have? That is because of that enzyme inhibitor. When you eat a raw almond the nutrients are limited, as are the calories. How to Soak Almonds So, how do you maximize on the power of this little nut? Soak it! Pour cold water over your raw almonds, and leave in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight. This will increase their digestibility by deactivating that famous enzyme inhibitor. And guess what? This trick isn’t just for almonds; it works for any tree nut, such as cashews, pecans, walnuts etc. In sum, it’s fine to eat almonds raw and unsoaked, but you won’t be taking full advantage of the tree nut’s nutritional benefits. Plus, you might have a harder time digesting the nut in its raw form. So, if you're worried about calories, don't soak your almonds, and you won't absorb all the real calories this nut has to offer. But, you'll also miss out on some important, health-supportive vitamins and minerals! Take a look at the following heart-healthy almond recipes! Almond Strawberry Shortbread Lemon Almond Bliss Balls Protein Packed Breakfast Smoothie Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.