How to soak nuts and seeds for better nutrient absorption

Ever wonder why seeds and nuts can make your stomach feel so heavy after eating them? The reason is that they contain enzyme inhibitors. These enzyme inhibitors are there to protect the nut until they need to germinate. When properly soaked, the enzyme inhibitors are released and actually increase the amount of necessary nutrients, like vitamin B. Not only will they be easier on your stomach, your digestive system will also be able to absorb more of the nutrients from the nuts as the inhibitors won’t be blocking any of the digestion.

So how should you prepare your nuts and seeds?
Different websites recommend different techniques, but the one that most follow is that of Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. She recommends soaking nuts with a tablespoon of sea salt as the salt breaks down the enzyme inhibitors. You will need a rather large jar and fill with about twice as much water as the volume of nuts, as they expand quite a bit. After soaking overnight, rinse, and place in a dehydrator until fully dry.

Soaking for granola bars
Peanuts: Place 4 cups of raw peanuts and 1 tablespoon sea salt into a large bowl or jar. Cover with twice as much water as the volume of nuts. Soak overnight, rinse, and dehydrate. Drying in an actual dehydrator is quicker, but it can also be done in the oven. Set your oven to the lowest temp and check often so they don’t burn. If your oven doesn’t set low enough, you may have to leave the door cracked open while drying. (a dehydrator will dry nuts at 105 degrees)

Sunflower seeds: Although there is no recommendation in Nourishing Traditions for these, I have found through other research that soaking for 6-8 hours is plenty for these seeds. I also use the salt while soaking. After the 6-8 hours, rinse and dry.

About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. Do I have to use the dehydrator? Can I soak the nuts and put them in the oven instead? Does this decrease the amount of necessary nutrients? If I can use only the oven, for how long would you recommend then? Thank you!

    donielle Reply:

    @Nicole, You can put them in the oven at the lowest temp yours will go down to, and it usually takes a few hours at 170 degrees. It will decrease the enzymes that are available in raw nuts, but some people actually find they enjoy them more, and tolerate them better, if they are roasted. So it’s not a big issue to use a slightly higher temp. :-)