What Are Sprouted Nuts?

What Are Sprouted Nuts?

Exploring the World of Functional Snacking

In the ever-evolving landscape of health food, sprouted nuts and seeds have emerged as a popular healthy snack alternative, promising not just taste but a nutritional powerhouse. Let’s dive into the health claims behind sprouted nuts in particular, define what is a sprouted nut, learn about the transformative sprouting process, and the unique snacking experience that set them apart.

Sprouting Process: Unlocking the Functional Potential

Sprouted nuts undergo a metamorphosis through a process known as sprouting. This involves immersing raw nuts in water for a period of time determined by the ability for the nut to absorb water, activating enzymes, breaking down enzyme inhibitors, and kickstarting germination. The ideal soak time depends on the type of nut; almonds, for example, are best soaked for 24 hours[1],  while cashews, walnuts, and pecans are considered a quicker soak, and should only be soaked for a period of up to 16 hours. The nuts are then rinsed and dehydrated, resulting in a nutrient-dense treat that is not only delicious but also packed with health benefits.

Nutritional Advantages of Sprouted Nuts: A Functional Foods Perspective

The study provides quantifiable insights into the nutritional advantages of sprouted almonds compared to their raw counterparts.

  1. Phytic Acid Reduction: Nonpareil almonds exhibited a noteworthy 5.6% reduction in phytic acid. Monterey almonds showcased an even more significant 8.7% reduction in phytic acid.
  2. Nutritional Analysis: Sprouted almonds boast a superior nutritional profile compared to raw almonds:
    • Higher protein content (25.19g sprouted vs. 21.15g raw).
    • Higher fiber (18.3g sprouted vs. 12.5g raw).
    • Lower fat content:
      • Lower saturated fats (3.55g sprouted vs. 3.8g raw).
      • Lower polyunsaturated fats (10.5g sprouted vs. 12.33g raw).
      • Lower monounsaturated fats (27.92g sprouted vs. 31.55g raw). These quantifiable improvements underscore the transformation that occurs during the sprouting process, rendering sprouted almonds not just a snack but nutritionally superior to their raw counterparts.

Food Safety Measures: A Prerequisite for Functional Snacking with Sprouted Nuts

One reason why sprouted nuts aren’t as prevalent across functional snack foods is due to concerns about previous methods of sprouting from a food safety standpoint. The study referenced emphasizes a meticulous three-step approach that marries their health benefits with food safety:

  1. 24-hour Soaking: This limited soaking period mitigates potential pathogen growth, but still allows for the almonds to soak up enough water to begin the sprouting process and provide the desired texture of sprouted almonds.
  2. Tsunami Rinse: An antimicrobial wash ensures the elimination of any residual pathogens.
  3. 73.9°C Dehydration: Dehydrating at this temperature safeguards against pathogenic growth for E Coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus E, all possible pathogens for nuts. This trifecta not only enhances health benefits but also assures consumers of the safety of sprouted almonds.

Unique Eating Experience:  A Functional Crunch!

After nuts are sprouted, they have a uniquely different texture. By soaking and then dehydrating nuts, the meatiness texture from raw almonds - still retained in roasted almonds – is replaced with a light, airy crunch. For sprouted almonds, this is due to the center of the almonds hollowing out and the decrease in fat. Due to the added crunch, sprouted nuts can be a great functional snacking experience, feeling lighter and more snackable. Either on their own or combined into other products, sprouted nuts can make any snack more nutritious and more snackable.

Incorporating Sprouted Nuts into Our Diets: A New Safe Proposition for Functional Foods

As we embrace a culture that prioritizes health and flavor, sprouted nuts beckon as a tantalizing addition to our diets. The study's quantitative results echo what health enthusiasts have suspected – sprouted nuts and seeds are not just a snack; they are a nutritional treasure trove. As the health-conscious population seeks holistic food options, sprouted nuts, particularly almonds, stand out as a beacon of nutrition, inviting us to savor the fusion of taste and health in every crunchy bite.

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