Some foods benefit from an overnight soak to become healthier. Foods that we soak before eating provide the body with a lot of nutrition due to the immediate improvement in their nutritional quality. They give the body energy, relieve fatigue, and keep the stomach healthy. These foods start to sprout when they are submerged in water for an extended period of time, increasing their nutritional value and removing food toxins like oxalates and phytates. Additionally, soaking some foods beforehand can strengthen the body's defences against infection by viruses. We reached out to Dr. Rohini Patil, MBBS, Nutritionist and CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle to know what foods must be soaked before consumption for maximum benefits.
In many ways, it has been shown to be advantageous to start the day with soaked nuts. Start soaking the nuts if you're looking for some simple methods to help you eat healthier. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pistachio nuts are particularly high in fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, good fats, and antioxidants.
When nuts are soaked, essential nutrients such as iron, protein, calcium, and zinc are better absorbed by the body. The water washes away the phytic acid found in acids, which causes indigestion. Soaking nuts aids in proper digestion and reaping the benefits of these nutrients. Also, when the nuts are soaked in water, the tannin is removed, and the taste and texture of the nuts improve.
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Soaking lentils and legumes not only improves nutrient absorption, but it also stimulates Amylase, a molecule that aids in the breakdown of complex starch in lentils and legumes, making them easier to digest. The washing and soaking process removes gas-producing chemicals from lentils and legumes. Furthermore, most legumes are high in complex Oligosaccharides, which are a type of complex sugar that causes flatulence and gas. To soften the texture and speed up the cooking process, it is common practice to soak legumes before cooking.
Complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre are both found in grains in good amounts. B vitamins like niacin and B6 are also present. Additionally, they include minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
When you soak whole grains in warm water overnight, the enzyme phytase is activated. This enzyme then degrades phytic acid, which binds minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. As phytase works its magic, minerals in whole grains are released and made easier for your body to absorb.
Also Read: Eating Whole Grains Might Lower Risk of Heart Diseases Study
Rice should be soaked in water overnight prior to consumption to lower the risk of arsenic and thereby lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The chemical element arsenic naturally occurs in a variety of minerals, typically in conjunction with sulphur and metals. Rice that has been soaked before cooking is better able to absorb vitamins and minerals and retain its nutritional value. Soaking rice also improves digestion.
5. Dried fruits
Dried fruits are rich in dietary fibre, potassium, and all the essential nutrients, which together provide a number of health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Soaking them promotes germination, which increases their nutritional content and benefits. For instance soaked raisins are easier to digest and retain their nutritional value. Soaking them helps to remove the sulfite that is naturally present on their surface. Soaking also aids in the release of natural sugars, making them a healthier snack option.
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All seeds contain enzyme inhibitors, which can be neutralised by soaking in warm water and promotes the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. Many vitamins, especially B vitamins, are increased in quantity by the actions of these enzymes. Gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into more easily absorbed components during the soaking and fermentation processes.
7. Soy Products
Lastly, we have soy products in the list. Soaking soy products helps to reduce phytoestrogen levels and improve digestion. Whether it is soy beans or soy chunks, you must soak them for a couple of hours for better benefits.