Are soaked almonds more nutritious for you? We asked Jaclyn Reutens, clinical dietitian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants. By Summer Lee
The act of soaking almonds in water for 12 to 24 hours (also known as ‘activating’) has been said to activate enzymes in the nuts, hence unleashing their full nutritional value.
In any state, almonds are known to be high in protein, fibre and calcium. Eating just a handful of raw almonds a day can help to reduce LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) in the body, making them a great heart-healthy option for when you’re feeling peckish. But will soaking almonds really make them any healthier?
Another reason people soak almonds is because the skin of almonds contains tannins, which has been said to interfere with the absorption of nutrients. However, Jaclyn confirmed that this is nothing to worry about. “Tannins are found in the skins of nuts, but the inhibition rate of absorption has not been well researched enough to say how much the skin inhibits the absorption of nutrients.”
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one serving of almonds, about 23 nuts, delivers 164 calories, 6g protein, 14.16g fat and 3.5g fibre. It is unclear if almonds lose their nutritional value significantly after soaking as well. “Whether soaked almonds are healthier than raw almonds remains to be seen, but it is unlikely that there is any significant nutritional difference,” says Jaclyn. While high in calories, almonds have proved to be a nutritious option when it comes to snacks, but the key to enjoying these nuts would be eating them in moderation.
Although there are no known benefits of soaked or sprouted almonds, it doesn’t mean that soaked almonds are entirely useless. Soaking almonds actually gives them a softer texture, making them even better in recipes for cakes, souffles and of course, almond milk, a nutritious, easy-to-make alternative to cow’s milk for those who are lactose intolerant.