This post is a continuation of my previous one on ways to improve digestion.

Read here: 8 ways to improve digestion naturally

The food we eat impacts our digestion. How we prepare that food is just as important.

Have you ever wondered why so many people experience discomfort when consuming foods, such as legumes, grains and nuts? These foods, that have been consumed by our ancestors and provide plenty of health-promoting benefits need to be prepared correctly in order for us to fully enjoy their benefits and for our body to properly digest them.

Why soak your legumes, grains and nuts?

Our grandmothers used to do it, but somewhere in our modern busyness soaking our grains may seem time-consuming and complicated. You will discover in this post, that nothing is further from the truth.

Soaking is very easy and it only requires a little planning ahead.

Soaking, also known as culturing, is a process that helps break down antinutrients as well as break down some hard-to-digest components present in grains, legumes and nuts. Phytic acid – an antinutrient found in these foods – binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract and cannot be absorbed in the intestine, which can lead to mineral deficiencies. Soaking helps break down the phytic acid and improves the mineral absorption from the soaked foods. Additionally, it reduces the cooking time of the grains and legumes as well.

How to properly soak your grains?

1. Use warm filtered water. The warm water is needed to start the breakdown of phytic acid.

2. Use an acidic medium – lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, kefir

3. Warm temperature (for example on your kitchen counter) and time

Soaking grains

Place the grains you want to soak in a bowl. Cover with warm, filtered water. For each 200ml water add 1 tbsp. of acidic medium of your choice. Cover and leave in a warm place. Note that different grains have different soaking time.

Soaking legumes

Cover the legume of your choices with warm water (hot to touch) and add an acidic medium (1 tbsp. per 200g).

Beans require a long time soaking (up to 36 hours depending on the bean) and the water needs to be changed once or twice. Always rinse the beans after soaking and before cooking. While cooking, it is also a good idea to change the water once.

Soaking nuts and seeds

Cover your raw nuts or seeds in warm water, add a pinch of salt, and let them soak for about seven hours. You can then dehydrate them or let them dry completely. You can later roast them or consume them as they are.

I found this image from that nicely shows soaking and sprouting times for different foods.

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