If you search for almond recipes online, you may have seen that some call for soaked almonds in place of raw or roasted ones. Soaking almonds overnight softens the hard shell and makes it easier to cook or bake with them.
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Some believe that eating soaked almonds has additional health benefits, though there is very little scientific research to back this up. The claims suggest that soaking your almonds for several hours or overnight makes them easier to digest and reduces levels of antinutrients.
Some think that soaked almonds are better for your digestion and has fewer antinutrients. Other reasons to soak almonds include making almond milk, nut butter and non-dairy cheese.
Are Soaked Almonds Better Than Raw Almonds?
People soak almonds for a number of reasons, including health reasons and for cooking or baking. In relation to health, some believe that soaking your almonds may reduce the risk of cyanide poisoning from bitter almonds. But, it is important to know that bitter almonds are not sold in grocery stores in the U.S., and there is not much evidence to support that soaking reduces cyanide in almonds.
Because almonds have a tough shell and lots of fiber, soaking them is also believed to help break down the fiber and make it easier to digest. But soaking almonds does not seem to actually improve your ability to digest them, according to a December 2018 study in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Another reason people soak their almonds is the belief that this will reduce antinutrient levels, but the research to support this is very limited. For example, soaking almonds for 24 hours only reduced phytic acid levels by less than 5 percent, according to one January 2019 study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Despite the research pointing to raw almonds and soaked almonds being equally nutritious, your blender may prefer soaked almonds because they are easier to process. This is helpful to know if you plan on making your own homemade almond milk.
Soaked almonds can also be used in a variety of beverages and foods, such as homemade almond butter, almond-based cheese, raw desserts and protein balls.
How to Soak Almonds
Things You'll Need
2 cups water
1 cup almonds
Soaking almonds is simple and requires just two ingredients: almonds and water. What it does require is a lot of time. If you need soaked almonds, remember to submerge them in water the night before or several hours in advance. To properly soak almonds at home, follow these instructions:
- Place almonds in a deep bowl.
- Pour in about 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of almonds. Use filtered or bottled water to ensure the flavor of the almonds isn't masked. Add more water if the almonds aren't completely covered.
- Leave on a counter overnight, or about 6 to 12 hours.
- Drain and rinse the almonds.
- You can eat the almonds immediately, pop them out of their skins or store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
Regardless of how you eat them, almonds are full of nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are also associated with many health benefits.
According to the USDA, a 1-ounce serving of almonds has:
- Calories: 164
- Total Fat: 14.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g
- Sodium: 0.3 g
- Total Carbs: 6.1 g
- Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g
- Sugar: 1.2 g
- Protein: 6 g
On top of being a popular source of fatty acids, almonds also supply calcium for people who do not eat dairy products. You can even reap the nutritional benefits of almonds by eating almond butter.
- USDA FoodData Central: "Almonds"
- Journal of the American Heart Association: "Effects of Daily Almond Consumption on Cardiometabolic Risk and Abdominal Adiposity in Healthy Adults With Elevated LDL‐Cholesterol: A Randomized Controlled Tria"”
- Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture: "Determination of D-myo-inositol Phosphates in 'Activated' Raw Almonds Using Anion-Exchange Chromatography Coupled With Tandem Mass Spectrometry"
- European Journal of Nutrition: "The Effects of 'Activating' Almonds on Consumer Acceptance and Gastrointestinal Tolerance"