Almond Butter and Phytic Acid
So what’s all the hype with soaking almonds? I’ve heard many people talk about the need for soaking almonds. So I did some research to find out if it’s necessary or just a myth. Read on to find out more!
What is phytic acid?
Phytic acid is a compound found naturally in plant foods. It serves as an antioxidant and storage form of phosphorus in plants, keeping the plant healthy in times of stress. It can also block our absorption of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Phytic acid binds to these minerals and limits their bioavailability. Basically, we aren’t able to absorb these valuable minerals from nuts (and some grains), due to the presence of phytic acid. But we can change this by soaking the almonds before eating them!
Soak up some knowledge
Soaking almonds (and other grains) for 12-24 hours degrades the phytic acid, increasing the bioavailability of those valuable minerals. Some claim that soaking almonds also improves digestion by deactivating the substance that keeps them from sprouting. When seeds sprout, it makes the phosphorus available for the young plant to grow and also makes other minerals more bioavailable for us!
Phytic Acid Benefits
Although phytic acid decreases our ability to absorb some minerals, it does have its benefits.
- Decreases risk of iron-mediated colon cancer
- Lowers serum cholesterol and triglycerides
- And it’s a natural antioxidant that may reduce the risk of kidney stones and cancer
But what does it all mean Basil??
Well, mineral deficiencies from a diet high in phytic acid are a larger concern in the developing world. Most of us can get these minerals from many other sources. As long as you’re eating a well-balanced diet—even if you eat unsoaked nuts—you shouldn’t be too concerned about nutrient deficiencies. Now, if you avoid meat and dairy products, replacing them with nuts and beans at every meal, these minerals may not be bioavailable due to the phytic acid. It may be a good idea for vegans and vegetarians to soak almonds, but for the rest of us, it may not be a necessity.
Overall, it may not be necessary to soak almonds, especially if you eat a varied diet. Both soaking and not soaking have their benefits. Personally, I eat both soaked and unsoaked almonds. If you find you like soaked/dehydrated almonds better, go for it! Otherwise, it may not be necessary unless you’re eating A TON of almond butter. Enjoy friends! 🙂
- Creamy, smooth and delicious! This almond butter is scrumptious!
- 2 cups almonds (If you choose to soak them, make sure you’ve dehydrated them first)
- Sea salt to taste
- If you choose to soak your almonds, this would be your first step. Soak for 12-18 hours and dehydrate either in a dehydrator or in the oven over low heat.
- (Optional step) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place almonds on a lined baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes. Roasting will allow them to release natural oils a bit better.
- Place almonds in a food processor or blender. Blend for 20 minutes. It really does take 20 minutes. Don’t add any oil, 20 minutes is the magic amount of time for the almonds to release their oils and become smooth, delicious almond butter.
- Add sea salt to taste.
You can add spices like cinnamon, but I don’t recommend adding any oil, as it will decrease the shelf life.
SERVING SUGGESTION: I LOVE almond butter with just about anything. But my favorite combinations are almond butter with apples or this yummy butter with rice cakes. Also try it with our pumpkin raisin muffins!
Note: prep time does not include soaking/dehydrating time
What do you like to pair your almond butter with?