Have you ever wondered why you soak almonds before eating them? Almonds are a healthy, savory snack, packed with protein, fiber and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Soaking them before eating has several health benefits – for starters, it makes it easier to digest the nut. It also increases the amount of nutrients and vitamins your body absorbs from it.
The brown skin of an almond contains an enzyme inhibitor that protects the nut until proper levels of sunlight and moisture allow it to germinate. It is only under these conditions that the nut releases its enzymes. So if you eat almonds without removing this inhibitor, you are limiting the nutrients your body can actually absorb from the nut. They also remain difficult to digest. But by soaking almonds, you provide the moisture that can help the almond shed its skin and release its enzymes.
Here is why almonds are good for you:
Helps in weight loss
Almonds are rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, which are great for lowering bad cholesterol. Also, monounsaturated fats harness appetite. So eating soaked almonds can prevent overeating and, in turn, helps weight loss.
Minimizes risk of cancer
The low level of saturated fats and high levels of vitamin E that almonds contain reduce cancer risk. Plus the nut also contains flavonoids that have the ability to suppress prostate tumors and breast cancer.
Good for the heart
Almonds can help prevent cardiovascular diseases, and soaked almonds help increase High-density Lipoproteins (HDL) and reduce the level of Low-density Lipoproteins (LDP). This helps control cholesterol levels, which is good for the heart.
The nut also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of heart diseases; folic acid, which helps reduce homocysteine levels that minimize the risk of clogged arteries, and magnesium, which can prevent heart attacks.
Soaking almonds also reduce C-reactive protein, minimizing inflammation that damages arteries.
Controls diabetes and blood pressure
Soaked almonds, when consumed along with a low calorie diet, lower levels of blood sugar, insulin and sodium, and boost levels of magnesium and protective antioxidants, thus controlling diabetes and blood pressure.
Beneficial for pregnant women
The main reason that pregnant women are advised to eat soaked almonds is that the folic acid present in almonds reduces chances of birth defects in newborns significantly.
To ensure you maximize its health benefits, soak 2 cups of water per ½ cup almonds. Sprouting the almonds – by soaking them overnight, draining and then leaving them to sprout for a few days – is an even better way to draw out the nut nutrients.
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