So you made the choice to eat healthier and started snacking on nuts to sustain yourself between meals. Whether or not you did this because of a cleanse or a new plant-based diet, snacking on nuts is much better for you than eating that usual bag of chips. Although you made a positive dietary change to live a healthier life, chowing down on a whole bag or can of nuts may not be doing you any favors.
Nuts are meant to be one thing and one thing only: a snack. While nuts provide you with protein, minerals, and vitamins, they are not meant to be a meal because they can be hard on your digestive system. Let’s find out why.
When you eat too many nuts you may feel bloated, gassy, or experience digestive discomfort. Why is this? First off, make sure that you don’t have a food allergy or sensitivity to nuts. If you do, then it’s best to avoid nuts in any form altogether. If you don’t have a nut allergy, eating too many nuts can cause digestive harm because of the compound phytic acid.
What is Phytic Acid?
Phytic acid, the storage form of phosphorus, is found in nuts, seeds, and many plants. Humans cannot properly digest phytic acid like cows and other herbivores because of the way they chew and how their stomachs work. When food is entirely broken down through chewing, it is easier for the nutrients to be absorbed by the intestines. For instance, certain nuts or some raw vegetables cannot be broken down completely in the stomach and need to be chewed thoroughly.
Phytic acid binds to minerals, essentially robbing us of the nutrients from the ingested food. The body can absorb more magnesium and zinc when phytic acid is not ingested. One thing to note is that phytic acid doesn’t rob the body of its previously stored nutrients; it just prevents it from getting nutrients from foods that contain phytic acid.
The body can handle small amounts of phytic acid, but if you are eating nuts as a whole meal, for example, you are not doing yourself any favors. It’s recommended to stick to the 200-calorie rule when eating nuts. Depending on the type of nut, the portions vary from 10-24 nuts. You can also add nuts to your salads, or you can blend them in with your fruit and vegetable smoothie. If you are adding nuts to certain dishes, steer clear of peanuts and peanut butter as they both can contain too much salt and are too rough on the digestive system.
How to Help Your Body Digest Nuts
It’s a very simple process. All you have to do is soak the nuts in filtered water for about 7 hours, rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear, and then let them dry. The phytic acid, which holds on to minerals needed for sprouting, in nuts breaks down when the nuts are soaked. You essentially trick the nuts into thinking they are going to sprout. Little do they know that you are going to eat them before that happens! If you don’t want to do this at-home process, you can opt for pre-sprouted nuts, but it’s healthier to do it yourself.
Nuts have an array of benefits that can provide you with energy, minerals, and nutrients. Don’t let them impair digestion or steal away the benefits that they are supposed to give you. Soaking them does not mean that you should go on a nut-eating frenzy. Remember that they are simply a nutritional snack. Overconsumption of anything can lead to digestive discomfort, and nuts are no different. Keep your digestive system healthy by eating healthy portions. If you are interested in the benefits of sprouting, click here for more information.